Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Picture Schedules

Anyone who has ever worked in preschool settings or with kids with disabilities have seen or used picture schedules. My personal background comes from the angle of working with kids with autism - severe and high functioning/aspergers. I have used picture schedules for a multitude of tasks. Let me say..
I Love Them!

Picture Schedules use picture cards to show the sequence of events for a given time period or detail the steps of a specific task (ie morning/bedtime routine, brushing teeth, chores).

While typically used for kids with disabilities, I think they have great benefits for kids of any age and ability. I especially like them for introducing new routines or skills.

Benefits of a Schedule:
  • Kids can visually see what is coming up next. There is no guessing for the parent or the kid.
  • Kids see how many steps are left until they are done.
  • If a reward or treat is associated with the task, the kids know what they have to do in order to earn the reward.
    • This one was really useful for me when I taught my son to brush his teeth. He earned a sticker when he was done. Once he saw what he had to do before he got the sticker, he was much more cooperative with the process.

Here is how I make a picture schedule...

Step 1: Figure out the sequence of event in your schedule.

The schedule I made last was for our bedtime routine.
The steps:
brush teeth
read 3 books
read scriptures
in bed with lights out

Step 2: Find a picture to represent each step.

I just google images. You can also take pictures of your own kids doing each step. Some kids really like seeing pictures of themselves on the schedule.

Step 3: Make your board or folder where you will display your schedule.

I used a white posterboard. You can also use a manila folder, cardstock or anything surface really that will fit your needs. (The manila folder works well for traveling).

The line down the middle separates the "To Do" from "Done." When a step has been completed, either you or the child moves the picture from the left side to the right side to show that that step is done and it is time to move on to the next step.

Step 4: Laminate pieces

I use contact paper. For other laminating options, read Alyssa's great post from a couple of weeks ago.

Step 5: Velcro!

Craft stores have velcro dots you can use for easy application. I just cut pieces off of the long strips of velcro. Just make sure you buy the velcro with the sticky back.

Step 6: Set up the schedule

Step 7: Teach your child how to use the schedule

This is by far the most important step. For all your hard work to pay off, you need to teach your child what each picture means and teach them how to use the schedule.

We taught our bedtime routine as part of Family Home Evening last night. I let the kids play with pictures for a few minutes while we talked about what each picture meant. Then we walked through the schedule together.
Learning how to move the pictures when done with a step.

These kinds of schedules can be used to almost anything. Just have fun with them. You can use as many or as few steps as you need to help your child understand what is going on. You can also change the length of the activity depending on how much time you have. (For example, if we have a late night we might only read scriptures. I would show the change by just leaving the books off.)

Do you have any ideas for teaching new skills or routines? Or, do you have a skill you want to teach and have questions on how to do it? Leave a comment and we will see if we can help.



Alyssa Harper said...

Love the idea! I'm thinking of making a job chart for my toddler with one o'these. Since he can't read yet, pictures would be a perfect stand-in!

Lisa said...

My son has responded really well to the pictures. Whenever I pull out the schedule he knows exactly what he needs to do and does it without arguing. (We did practice a lot, so I could make sure he understood what each picture meant.)