Many parents are sent home with visual from, school, multiple types off therapists or camp programs. However, many parents keep them in their children binder, backpack or label them as “school” items. The opposite! These items are being sent home to aid in a successful morning, night or weekend routine. Here are three basic tips to using a visual schedule:
- Communicate with the therapist or teacher on your individual needs. If you are being given a schedule which does not align with your family tasks then it is useless. Write a short list of 4-5 tasks you would like your child to do INDEPENDENTLY. Yes, that right! Without support. Be realistic with your child’s skillset. Can your child get their shoes, put them, put on coat and wait by the door? Can your child get themselves completely ready for bed but also forgets to put clothes out the night before. Using skills that your child already knows how to do will ensure success.
- Consistency is key here! Make sure to present the schedule to your child with excitement. Feel free to include your child in creating it and deciding which skills to work on. On day one, place the schedule where the child can see it. Prompt your child to look at the visual and then do the task imediatly after. Repeat this for three days, after three consecutive three days, add another task. Make sure to fade yourself out. Meaning, stand further away from the schedule each day and do not physically help the child. Many children love to place the icon in the “all done” section as reinforcement. Increase tasks as child masters the fourth task.
- Reinforcement ensures behavior will continue. Although the child should be doing this anyways, they are working hard! Make sure to pair with verbal praise, tangible prizes or a preferred activity if completed independently.