Something that we as therapists use a lot in their sessions is a visual schedule. This can be a poster board with pictures of activities or a small laminated piece of paper with the day's activities velcroed on in order. There are so many benefits to these, and they don't just have to be for therapy - they're great to use at home, too, and here's why:
1. They promote independence. Following a visual schedule allows the individual to learn how to structure their downtime, complete lengthy tasks that require multiple steps, and manage their responsibilities.
2. They increase the individual's ability to wait. Visual schedules help individuals learn how to wait for future events by laying out expectations, and building in predictability within and/or across routines.
3. Theyncrease social interaction. Developing and completing activities listed on the visual schedule offers several opportunities for the individual to initiate conversation and social interaction with their others, especially their peers, as opposed to just responding to the directions of others.
4. They increase choice making. When creating a visual schedule, the individual can learn how to and subsequently make choices on the order and length of time they complete an activity/task.
5. Everyone uses a schedule in some way. Visual schedules are individualized to meet the needs of the individual from the very young (i.e., preschool age) through adulthood. They may begin using pictures but eventually they become more complex. Think of how an older student uses a planner to track their class schedule, homework, end extracurricular activities.
6. Visual schedules are easily customized. Each person's schedule is able to be individualized to meet their current skill level and needs. What's more, as the individual continues to learn how to utilize their visual schedule it can develop into a more complex system.
If you're wondering where to start with a visual schedule, your therapists are a great resource for you! They would be happy to help you get started.