Monday, March 9, 2009

What is a visual schedule?

A visual schedule can be used for any activity or sequence of events to tell the individual what activities will occur and in what sequence.

Because the schedule is in picture format most everyone will be able to understand the events on the schedule. We use this with Crash to lessen the anxiety he feels during the dressing routine to decrease his screaming tantrums that typically occur when getting dressed. This provides predictability and clearly lays out the expectations. At the end we placed a treasure chest to indicate a "surprise" that would happen if he completed his schedule. This surprise might be to watch a little of a favorite movie, or a bite of a apple , or a piece of cheese. We never defined the surprise so we could make it fit into any situation.

We also have a morning routine schedule and a schedule for getting ready to go outside.

Additional information about visual schedules

How to make a visual schedule:

We chose to incorporate some of Crash's favorite characters to increase his motivation to complete the visual schedule, but this is optional. We also made his schedule portable so it can go to grandma's house or the YMCA or where ever we may need it to go. Finally, we placed a strip of velcro on the back of the schedule for Crash to put the pictures after he completed each step.

1. Define your schedule: Is it for a specific procedure (getting dressed) or a routine of events that will happen in sequential order .

2. List the specific steps

3. Using Google images search for a specific image to represent each step. Images should be concrete and self explanatory.

4. Cut each picture into a small square.

5. Use clear contact paper (found most retail stores with the shelf liners) or a laminator to seal the pictures to prevent them from getting ripped or torn.

6. Use sticky back velcro and place one side of the velcro on the picture and th other on the schedule board.

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