Week 32: Learning Independence with a School Schedule
A visual school schedule is a great way to help kids know what to expect from their school day. It’s great for kids with ADHD, Asperger’s, and Autism. It’s also great for kids being home schooled! With over 300 images to choose from you can easily make a visual schedule of your child’s day.
I originally created this activity because I have a niece who has autism. Her name is Gaby. Gaby is an adult now, but for many, many years at school, Gaby used a visual schedule to help her get through her day. When I realized that many of my Trip Clip customers are using The Trip Clip lists with special needs kids, I asked my sister (Gaby’s mom) what I could do to make the website better for these families. My sister recommended that I make a School Schedule Activity.
Here is what my sister had to say about using a visual schedule with Gaby:
Gaby used a daily schedule with both words and icons throughout elementary school and high school. It included the written name of the class, room number, teacher’s name, hour or time and an icon to represent the subject matter. This allowed Gaby to preserve her independence and dignity (no one likes to be nagged by authority figures – especially not mom) and also encouraged her to continue to develop her organization and time management skills. It also allowed us to signal/prepare her for important changes to her day. For example:
- when she was going to have a substitute
- when an assembly was scheduled
- when a fire or tornado drill was coming
- when the usual order of her day was going to change due to special activities at school or testing
- when she had a doctor/dentist appointment and had to leave early
Transitions are typically very difficult for people with autism and so are changes to routine. Knowing in advance when these things were happening and having a stable, visual reminder greatly reduced Gaby’s anxiety and helped her successfully adapt to these kinds of events.
The schedule helped with social interactions, as well. Gaby typically doesn’t pay much attention to new people. Seeing the classroom teacher’s name written down on her schedule every day helped her remember it and use it when addressing her teacher.
Gaby was almost the only student in her autism homeroom in high school who still had a visual schedule like this. Interestingly, most of the kids in that room knew Gaby’s schedule by heart – even when they couldn’t remember their own.
Since creating this activity, I have had many families who home school contact me about how helpful this school schedule has been for them, too. Here is a comment I received from Homeschooling Mom of 2 in MT:
This has been our game changer. We needed a little help with transitioning from public to homeschool. This is exactly what we needed. It was getting a bit too hard, even for myself, to remember what we needed to do in order to be prepared and stay on track. Hand written, ever changing, and never-where-I-needed-them-to-be-lists were failing us. I have made Routines for each school day and put them into plastic page protectors right alongside their Morning, Lunch, Supper, and Bedtime Routines. No more crazy eyed mom. No more wandering and wondering children (ages 7.5 and 9). Just productivity…so long they can find their folders! 😉 Thanks Trip clip for adding a ton more options to your website within this last year!