Sorting Tasks


Audience: healthcare professionals, children and young people.

Sorting tasks are a creative and interactive way to communicate with people and help them explore and express their feelings or preferences. You can use symbols, words or pictures on separate tiles. Once the topic is chosen (e.g. ‘activities’ or ‘people’) the person is given the options one at a time and asked to think about how they feel about each one. They can then place the symbol or word tiles into categories. Example topics of sorting tasks could include:

  • Things you like doing, things you don’t like doing, things you don’t mind
  • Sorting out the structure or tasks/activities of the day
  • What is important to you








This could be adapted to condition specific questions, such as: ‘what are you struggling or succeeding with regarding your health condition?’ or ‘what activities in your life are you not managing so well?’ Sorting tasks can support people to structure and verbalise their thoughts and to express negative as well as positive views. It can reduce the tendency for people to agree with everything. The act of physically moving the pictures or symbols allows people to organise their thoughts in a logical way. The pictures show three different sorting tasks; an appraisal (top), thinking about activities at school (middle) and thinking about daily activities with a patient (bottom).

Submit Resource