Teaching Seriation {putting things in order}

One of the ABLLS tasks looks at the ability to seriate. I had absolutely no idea what that was, so I referenced the good old Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

 Seriate (v): to arrange in a series or succession.

This can be anything from letters to shading. Several of my clients didn’t have this skill yet, so we created a plan to help develop it. We organized the program with different sets so one set was focused on at a time. Once the student has mastered one set, we move them on to the next.

The Autism Helper - Seriation

The Autism Helper - Seriation
With seriation, you provide the first and last pieces of the sequence. An example is using numbers. You would put down the 1 and the 6, and give the student cards 2-5 for them to sort.

The Autism Helper - Seriation

The Autism Helper - Seriation

We have a lot of the students start with letters or numbers (something they are familiar with). Once that set has been mastered (100% accuracy for five straight days) we move them on to the next. Then, when the second set is mastered, we combine sets 1 & 2. Then, set 3. After that, set 1, 2, & 3 combined. You get the idea.

The Autism Helper - Seriation



Taking data for this task is also really important to see progress and accuracy. For the program we designed, one trial counted as sorting cards 2-5 when given the numbers 1 and 6. If one number is incorrectly sorted, you would count that as an incorrect.


Finally, you could tackle errors in several different ways. You could use errorless learning from the beginning. You could also do some sort of chaining procedure. There is the option of correcting with physical or verbal prompts. You should choose whichever works best for your learner and your classroom.

The Autism Helper - Seriation

We focused on the following sets:

  • ABCs
  • 1-6
  • Light to dark
  • Small to big
  • Least dots to most dots

The data sheets and program guides for this program are included in our Discrete Trial Goal Sheets & Data Forms SET 3! This is a perfect resource to get your direct instruction up and running!










  1. Can you explain a little about field size (I’m guessing number of visuals in the the group you are using) and set number (do you have multiple sets of simialr materials to pick from to work on that skill?) Do you wait for a student to master a set to move on to the next set? Thanks.

  2. Yep! So the field size would be how many in the group we are using – you are right. The sets are which type of seriation we are doing. For this program we worked on letters, numbers, size, and color fading. We waited until the student mastered one set to move on to the next!

  3. I just purchased your ABLLS Resource package and the ABLLS-R from Amazon. Do you know if there is much difference in your resources and the R version?

  4. Yep! It’s all aligned to the ABLLS-R.


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