Why do we use it? Children with Autism like to have a set schedule. They like routine. If they are able to visually see what their day includes, and who they are going to work with, then they can better prepare themselves to react appropriately to the situation. Sometimes we let the kids pick their “rewards” following the more difficult tasks, such as homework. That way the child knows if they finish their homework, they can then move onto their choice, making them feel more in control of the situation. When the child knows what is going to follow each task it ultimately eliminates severity of the tantrums, and sometimes it can eliminate a tantrum all together.
What is it? Our picture schedules are made by laminating a long piece of poster board and dividing it into two long halves. On the left side we have the, “To Do” list, and on the right side we have the, “All Done” list. We put Velcro on each side of the schedule vertically. On the top left we put a picture of the child, and on the right side we put a picture of the helper who has them that day. We always couple every picture with the name or word that matches to promote word recognition. We use Velcro because the schedule is constantly changing and we need to be flexible in rearranging the activities. We have made a book with virtually every activity available in the house. We print out a picture of the activity, cut it into a square and place the name of it at the bottom. For our kids that read, we use just the words on the schedule board. We laminate everything to ensure the longevity of each piece. We then stick the soft side of Velcro on the back of each picture or word. We have the activities color coded, according to category. Categories range from Games, Daily Living Skills (i.e. brush teeth, reading calendar, and homework), Arts and Crafts, Sensory, and Outdoor. At the end of each day (or shift) we put all the pictures away in the color coded book on rows of Velcro.