Thursday, January 5, 2017

Visual Schedule

A visual schedule simply informs us of what is going to take place.Visual schedules often use images, symbols and photos to better communicate a task or activity   Most neurotypical people do not follow a visual schedule because we do not simply need to. We can adjust and manage our time without schedules. However, individuals with autism have greater difficulties coping with unstructured time than neurotypical people and benefit from increased structure in their lives. 

There has been a lot of research on autism in the past years. Children and adults with autism have a great need for structure and safety. Sudden changes can seem threatening and cause stress and behavioral problems.

The advantages to using a visual schedule with individuals with ASD include (Mesibov et al., 2005):
  • It utilizes the individual’s visual strengths and therefore provides a receptive communication system to increase understanding;
  • It helps the individual to learn new things and broaden their interests;
  • It provides tools that allow the individual to use skills in a variety of settings;
  • It can increase the individual’s flexibility;
  • It helps the individual remain calm and reduces inappropriate behaviors; and
  • It helps the individual to develop independence and resulting self-esteem.
Making visual schedules is very time consuming! VERY! However, it can really help children on the spectrum. I saw it personally when I worked as a special education teacher and I see it with both my boys. Andrew uses one at home. I used to use one with Trenton but he refused to use it and only tore it up repeatedly at home. However, he is at a different stage in his life right now so we are back to using a schedule. Tonight was the first night that we used it and he loved it! Let's keep out fingers crossed that it continues:)
His schedule is on his door to his room. I also have a First/Then chart right below it in case we need it!

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