Article by Stephanie Ekis, MS, CCC-SLP
Many children with autism use visual schedules at school. Visual schedules are used to help children organize their lives and understand sequence and time. Schedules can also provide information regarding the expectations that have been set.
Have you ever considered creating a schedule at home for your child?
Benefit 1: Schedules provide your child with structure.
- Children with autism may feel more comfortable with structure.
Benefit 2: Schedules may reduce challenging behaviors.
- When children know what to expect, challenging behaviors may be decreased.
Benefit 3: Schedules can increase independence.
- Children can do more on their own when they have visual supports.
The process for creating a visual schedule is relatively simple. The first step is to think about what activities occur when your child comes home from school. Write them down in the order that they occur. The next thing to do is to find a picture that will represent each activity. You can easily find pictures or clip art on the internet. You could even take a photograph with your camera. So let’s say that your child does the following activities when they get home from school:
Create a way that you child can mark off the things that have already been done. They can use a wipe erase pen if your pictures are laminated or just pull the item off if they have Velcro. Make sure that you review the schedule with your child every day and you will see that they will quickly learn to use it and become more independent.