Using Schedules with Visual Learners
Children with autism and other auditory problems function better when they know what to expect. Providing a visual representation of activities on a schedule board can help comprehension and following directions. Schedules can be monthly, weekly, daily, or even hourly. Using the right type of visual support is important. The child must be able to understand that the picture represents the activity. Although digital pictures are best, other types of pictures can be used.
In the past, BoardMaker, from Mayer-Johnson, has been the dominating product. However, other companies have acknowledged the need and developed products that are becoming available. Unfortunately, many these pictures are simple line drawings and may be difficult for some children to interpret. Keep in mind that the pictures should be understandable to the child.
Why is it important to have a variety of pictures?
People tune in and understand visually depicted concepts differently. Some children only need to see a roof to understand it’s a building that sells pizza or a large M for hamburgers, chicken nuggets, and fries. Others may need to see a photograph of a pizza in order to get the idea. Although we tend to believe there is a hierarchy to understanding visually (i.e. objects – TOBIs* - photographs – line drawings, etc.) there is no research or documented studies showing the efficacy of such thought. If the student does not understand the meaning of the visual support, we teach the meaning by consistently using the visual support during meaningful activities. If we are teaching the meaning, we should be using a variety of graphics depending on the ability and interest of the child.
*TOBIs – “True Object Based Icons” Also referred to as linguistic representations. These pictures are usually larger than the normal two-dimensional picture and are cut out in the actual shape of the object. The symbol and shape are thought to give the person additional information for understanding.
Here are some examples of different graphics that could all mean "bed".
There are lots of free printables on the web:
Use Visual Strategies
Do 2 Learn
Here are some examples of schedules:
Morning Schedule with Photos: