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A Visual Schedule for How to Remove a Flash Drive from a Computer

I work with many students with autism on technology skills, such as coding, robotics, and 3D modeling (which they’re often amazing at, by the way).

I was working with one of my teenage students one day and we needed to transfer some 3D modeling files from my computer to his computer, so we used a flash drive. I realized that he didn’t know that you needed to follow certain steps to eject the drive before you remove it.

He learns very well with pictures and written instructions, so I took screenshots of each step in the process of removing the drive from my computer and also wrote a sentence that describes the step. I'll post the full sequence of steps at the end of this post, but here's an example:

A screenshot that shows clicking on the "show hidden icons" button at the bottom of a computer screen.

I show him one step at a time, and he completes the step while looking at the picture. Then, we move on to the next step.

He had a different type of computer, so we did an online search to see how to do it on his computer. We wrote out the steps for that process as well.

Here's an overview of the steps. You'll find a link to a PDF with each step on a separate page at the end of this post.

1. Look at the bottom right of your screen. 2. Click show hidden icons. 3. Click on this icon that means safely remove hardware and eject media. 4. Eject the flash drive. 5. Pull the flashdrive out of the computer when you see this message, "safe to remove hardware."

Using a Task Analysis

This process of writing out each step in a process is called a “task analysis” and it is a useful teaching tool for breaking down skills into steps for easy teaching. It lets us think about the small steps in a process, so we can teach one step at a time if our students or children learn best that way.

A task analysis also works great with picture schedules or video schedules. Like we did in this example, you can take a picture or make a video clip of each step in a process that we want a student to learn. In the example that follows, please note that the steps to removing the flash drive might be different on your computer.

If you’d like to learn more about writing/using a task analysis, I wrote a blog post about using this instructional approach to teaching children to wash their hands:

There's a PDF download with each step on a separate page here:

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