Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Daily Schedule Systems

Visual Schedules
  • use text or images that are typically used in the students communication systems and/or curriculum by that Mayer-Johnson PCS, Tango Images, Imagine Symbols, clip art, Minspeak/Unity symbols - consistency is key
  • use the least restrictive means of conveying the schedule
  • highly recommended in Down Syndrome, Autism and other disabilities where students are typically visual learners
  • highly recommended for students who have difficulties with transitions
  • some specialists recommend presenting the entire schedule in the morning and others recommend a first/next or now/next with and all done box approach; data are scare but it is generally believed that so some students a full schedule is too overwhelming and a first/next is easier to cope with; some teachers only present as many schedule items as the student can cope with in a choice making array (i.e. if a student can make choices from a field of four then now and the next four items in the schedule are presented but if the child makes choices from a field of one, an error free field of two or two then first/next is used)
  • many, many formats can be used, right to left is preferred for pre-readers, but vertical may be useful as well, divided flip charts (I have one of these posted at Adapted Learning) can be used or a whole class schedule can be used if everyone follows the same schedule
  • consider fading use of the system as you would any other support or fading to a more natural system like a to do list, day planner or a cell phone calendar as to be more like typical peers
  • many companies sell commercially made visual schedule systems such as AugCom Resources, Silverlining, Enabling Devices and more

Object Schedules A/k/A Calendar Boxes
  • used for those who are blind, deafblind or pre-symbolic communicators - consistency is key (only know as calendar boxes in deafblind field)
  • always use the same object for the same activities
  • use the same objects as are used for communication
  • objects should be those used in the activity or otherwise be part of the activity (spoon for mealtime - not just any spoon but their spoon or one that is exactly the same) if a real object cannot be used/found (it is too big) use a part of a real object (vinyl to represent the physical therapy mat table or a chain to represent a swing outside); consider having them actually use the item in the calendar box in the activity (bring the spoon to the table and eat with it); try not to use miniatures unless you are sure the student understands them
  • allow students and families to be part of the process of choosing objects
  • it is recommended to present objects from left to right (pre-Braille/pre-reading)
  • there is some debate over attaching or somehow embedding objects into or onto a card or book as this may cause the object to loss meaning as it is loses a dimension, think carefully before you decide to attach objects to tri-wall or some other material, ask yourself, "Will this still be a ____ to this student if it is attached?" (For example is a spoon a spoon to Joey if it is glued to a card?)
  • some specialists recommend presenting the entire schedule in the morning and others recommend a first/next/all done approach; data are scare (see above)
  • as symbolic communication emerges grow the system with the vocabulary of the student
  • use plastic or cardboard shoe boxes attached together and tactically labeled or commercially sold calendar boxes
Texture Symbol Schedules
  • used for students who are blind or deafblind and are symbolic communicators
  • students should choose textures with staff/family
  • otherwise same as above
Visual Schedules
Object Schedules A/k/A Calendar Boxes

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