We started out by talking about the benefit of approaching the task via backward chaining.
Instead of starting out with the first step:
Begin with the last step.
I asked the mom to just do the last two or three steps during the home sessions, and to stop after a couple of successful trials. No overpracticing! As the student becomes more independent with those last, tricky steps you can add in the middle and beginning steps and practice more of the sequence. One day the student will become independent; it might take days, weeks or months.
Another way to adapt the activity is to change up what object you're tying on--try things that won't move around too much on the table surface (example: chose a rectangular box instead of a Quaker oatmeal cylinder.)
If the student appears to be understanding and recalling the steps but is having difficulty with the floppiness of the laces, try different materials:
To make it easier to figure out which piece of lace to pick up, cut two different color shoelaces in half and tie them together to create a half 'n half shoelace. That way, the student will have the different colors to help in seeing the steps of lacing, just like in the book used in the first picture (Red Lace, Yellow Lace by Mike Casey).
As long as the student becomes independent with shoe tying and the shoes stayed tied when they're supposed to, it doesn't matter a bit if they have a little quirky step in the process. No need to insist on following the "proper steps" once the student is independent. You should see Uncle Grumpy (dear husband) tie his shoes--eek!
So cool to meet with a parent who is very willing to help a student become more independent at home.