Children with verbal limitations and/or developmental delay benefit by use of a visual schedule. The not knowing of what is to occur next causes anxiety about what to expect. Visual schedules and having a consistent (as possible) schedule during the day, helps alleviate the anxiety. Here's our visual schedule:
Here's our picture cards that are kept in this box. (All have Velcro on them and go in the completed activities so that Charlie and Mason can take the item off of the schedule themselves.)
And I have photographed lots of toys so that they can choose what we play with! This means mom gets down on the floor and plays too!
Tips for making and using the visual schedule:
1. Make your cards by using a combination of clip art pictures off of the computer and taking actual pictures (black and white are fine) and printing them out. Use clear packing tape to cover them or purchase a laminator (inexpensive) at Walmart!
2. Use Velcro so that the pictures can be taken down by the child/children. It allows them to work on something fine motor and to feel like they are in charge of their own schedule.
3. Also photograph various toys so that you can have time to sit down and play WITH them. Blocks, shape sorters, alphabet, flash cards, memory, games, pretend, dress-up..........
4. Make it a habit. Every morning, have the child/children come over and make the schedule with you. That means allowing them choices built into the already scheduled meals/nap/potty time/daily routine.
5. Make it short. Update it several times a day.
6. Include meals and snacks. Charlie is constantly hungry. I refer to the schedule and say, "it's not snack time yet!"
7. Include pictures of places you visit. Stores, the park, the library, and include a picture of the school bus.
8. You can add people if they are going to have a visitor or go to someone's house.
9. Ask them what else they want to include!
10. Get into the habit and then see if they go to the visual schedule and look at what is next. They do! They love it!