Visual Schedules and Other Supports in an Early Childhood Special Education Classroom: Seeing the Magic!!


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Techniques & Strategies to be used in an Early Childhood Special Education that improve student's behavior. Support examples include the usage of object schedules, one cue picture schedules, first/then picture schedules, picture wall schedule, icon wall schedule and clipboard schedules.
  • 1. Visual Schedules and Other Supports: Seeing the Magic! By Lindy McDaniel Early Childhood Special Education Teacher Roosevelt Elementary- USD 489 Hays, KS 1
  • 2. Getting to Know Me. . . • I have worked with preschool children for over 10 years. • Working with at risk and special needs students, especially those with ASD are my passion. • I taught Head Start preschool for five years, then in the fall of 2008, I began teaching in the Early Childhood Special Education Classroom. • I have background in Conscious Discipline and Structured Teaching. • I am currently share my work through my blog. . .
  • 3. DISCLAIMERS. . . • In today’s presentation I will be referring to children with Autism mostly, however I have seen the strategies and techniques described in this presentation work for ALL types of children.
  • 4. Getting to Know You. . . • How many years have you been working with children with Autism? Other disabilities? • How many of you are teachers? parents? special service providers (slp, ot, pt, etc)? other? • What is your biggest challenge when working with children with Autism and other disabilities?
  • 5. To change a child’s behavior you need to be able to make sense of that behavior and making sense of a child’s behavior means making sense of his/her Autism. -Philip Whitaker, 2001
  • 6. Video of the first day at direct instruction goes here.
  • 7. Reframing Behavior • In order to maximize the student’s growth and potential, we must make sense of his behavior. • The child in the video clip is not acting out because he is trying to be defiant, he dislikes school or due to poor parenting. He has Autism! • We must reframe the behavior. His physical acts are not deliberate or vindictive . They are his way to communicate he does not like what is being asked of him.
  • 8. Children with Autism have problems in three main areas of their development: -social interactions and understanding -verbal and nonverbal communication -flexible thinking -Whitaker, 2001
  • 9. There is HOPE, Teaching/Learning the Skills. . . Video of third day at direct instruction goes here, after systems have been put in place. 9 (Just Three Days Later!)
  • 10. Visual Structure and Handouts for Today. . . = key pointswhat you need to know = why it works *All green slides were added after the presentation was printed. I am going to. . .
  • 11. Schedules • Schedules are a visual/concrete method used to tell a child which activities will make up their day and the order in which they will occur. • The purpose is to teach flexibility; top to bottom and left to right progression; aid in transitions; provide predictability; establish a routine; teach concepts of first/then and finished; and to accommodate receptive language deficits 11
  • 12. 1-Object Schedule 4- Picture Wall Schedule 2- One Cue Picture Schedule 5- Icon Wall Schedule 3- First/Then Picture Schedule 6- Text and Small Picture Clipboard Schedule 12
  • 13. A Sample of Individual Schedules Video of students transitioning independently goes here.
  • 14. You have got to keep autistic children engaged with the world. You cannot let them tune out. -Temple Grandin
  • 15. Setting Boundaries and Teaching the Concept of First-Then. . . • To teach first-then we often do a very brief non-preferred activity followed by a preferred activity to help the child see success. First-Then Marker Boards with All Done Magnets • To make it concrete, in the beginning we will use objects to show where and what they are being asked to do EXAMPLE: “First put in (showing a coin they need to put in), then marble game (showing a marble) . 15
  • 16. Examples of 4 Individual Schedules. . . That Made a World of Difference! A First-Then Schedule A Closer Look at the Communication System
  • 17. A Mark Off Picture Schedule Close up of a few lines of the schedule Communication Prompt to request a break
  • 18. And newest forms of schedules! A Flip Schedule with Reinforcement DVD Case Schedule with Reinforcement * There is a video example of this schedule on my blog under December 2013.
  • 19. These schedules were successful because. . . • They reduced anxiety, by showing the children how much work they had do. • Set boundaries and limits. • Supported social understanding of what comes next. • Helped support the child in communicating their needs.
  • 20. Behavior is Communication! Typically developing children have multiple ways to communicate a message. *Children with ASD may have only one way to communicate multiple messages -SI KISN 2011 Want something Need help Tantrum Indicates pain Wants something else 20
  • 21. Video of a little girls school day prior to implementing an object schedule with her mom’s picture at the bottom.
  • 22. See the Magic of Schedules Video of the little girl three days later. Object schedule with visual Visual watch for support and communication * There is a blog entry regarding this system under August 2013.
  • 23. TIP-Make sure the schedule fits the child’s level. Get Creative! Think outside the box. Create schedules based on student interests and motivation.
  • 24. Sample of a Schedule Based on Student Interest that Motivates and Teaches Good Behavior Video example of the whole class using character can and mystery motivation.
  • 25. Some students do not need an individual schedule but rather a group or class schedule. A class schedule can benefit all students!
  • 26. Your Role in Using Individual Schedules • Refrain from using verbal cues, or taking a child’s hand to move them from place to place. • Present students with a check schedule ‘ticket’ or clipboard to take their next schedule icon or object from instead of handing it to them. This will increase independence. • If a student drops or does not attend to their object or icon, represent it in their line of vision in a calm and respectful manner. Repeat this action until successful.
  • 27. • Prime and prepare students for transitions with a timer, video modeling, social stories, a few minutes warning, and/or a Ready/Not Ready visual. You can access this on Boardmaker Share and a description of it on my blog under February 2013.
  • 28. TIP: Creating simple systems that can be set up at the end of each day in minutes to get ready for the next day. lists for quick reference Staff to do list numbered color coded icons extra icon and picture drawers
  • 29. Why do Individual Schedules Work? • Individual schedules reduce anxiety and support independence. . . Just think where would you be without your to do list, calendar or lesson plan? Schedules support students on their best day and help them re-group and get back on track on their worst day. • Transitioning can be the most difficult task for children on the Autism Spectrum. It is difficult for them to stop what they are doing and shift their body to the next task or activity (Especially if they are moving from a high preferred activity to a less preferred activity.)
  • 30. Visual Supports • Visual prompts and supports are pictures or icons that are still in time. They are a constant in a world that is ever changing! • They provide children with information about the rules and routines of the classroom and home. • Way they help: Children with Autism and other cognitive and developmental disabilities have a difficult time processing auditory information, by seeing it visually they can make more sense of it.
  • 31. Examples Visual Supports: to show when areas are off limits. *See more details on my blog under September 31 2012
  • 32. Visual Supports: to Decrease Anxiety and Support Attention to Task *see more details on my blog
  • 33. Other Visual Supports: To support independence and success Visual to support a student in putting their bookbag on correctly. Prompt to use one or two paper towels Visual to support students in waiting to wash their hands. 33
  • 34. Visual Supports for Supporting Communication This is based on the work of Gayle Porter and Linda Burkhardt. You can see more info about it on my blog under October 2013.
  • 35. Our Newest Language Support. . . The Language Cuff!
  • 36. An Example of Teaching Children to Communicate Using Visuals. . . Video of a student using an aided language board at art. 36
  • 37. One of the most important visuals you can teach a child is the meaning of a STOP sign!
  • 38. An Example of Teaching Stop Video of students learning the stop visual at small group. 38
  • 39. TIP-Putting visuals on a key ring or name tag pulley can help children make progress quicker as they are pulled out immediately and in the moment for children to make connections with what is being asked of them. A Quick Prompt * See more detail on my Blog under October 2012. 39
  • 40. Seeing the Magic of Visual Supports Video of a student using a breath visual. Conscious Discipline
  • 41. • Visuals are not only helpful to the Autistic population. They can benefit the whole class. • They serve as friendly reminders to perform and participate appropriately. • Brain Research by Dr. Becky Bailey reveals that “all children think in pictures till the age of 9.” Pictures of what to do can prove very helpful!
  • 42. • Sometimes it seems easier to put things out of reach that your children should not have but by using visuals rather than removing items they should not use you are able to support your child in learning impulse control. A life skill that is important in school and beyond!
  • 43. TIP- Have a handful of stop signs, and all done icons ready and available to use at any minute for your students.
  • 44. Teach Rules, Routines and Expectations! *You can view more details about this on my blog under August and September 2013.
  • 45. Ball Experiment
  • 46. Your Role in Using Visual Structures and Supports • Draw attention to visuals and supports by model their use and pointing to them and presenting them as needed. • Have a quick prompt with stop, hands down, and quiet ready for use at any moment. The quicker you can present a cue the more effective it will be. • Present visuals in a respectful, assertive and confident manner that says “just do it!” • When possible use visuals that tell them what to do, not what not to do.
  • 47. Why do visual supports work? • Children with Autism and other cognitive and developmental disabilities have a difficult time processing auditory information, by seeing it visually they can make more sense of it. • By using visuals you can cue one child without disrupting the learning of the whole group. • Visual prompts are easier to fade than verbal prompts. When you use visuals children are more independent and less prompt depended. • By using visuals it is not about us being the bad guy but rather about the visual saying you can’t--- there is less room for argument!
  • 48. • It is not just about visual supports but also about visual structure. • Visual structure is incorporating concrete visual cues into tasks and activities, to capitalize on students’ visual strengths. • Visual structure: engages attention, prevents distraction, reduces frequency of behavior, and decreases the amount of supervision needed.
  • 49. Visually Structured Work Systems • Visual stucture can support children in becoming more independent and successful through the use of work systems. • A work system is a systematic method of presenting information in a way that is understood by learners so they can make sense of it to be productive and successful.
  • 50. A Work System visually answer 4 key questions: – How much work? – What work? – When is the work finished? – What comes next?
  • 51. Examples of Work Systems for Arrival Jobs Watering the plant job Weather Helper Job Date Helper Job Attendance Helper Job Feeding the Fish Job
  • 52. Arrival Jobs. . . See the Independence! Video of students doing their arrival jobs. (Descriptions of all our arrival jobs will be on my blog soon!)
  • 53. A Sample of Independent Work System: First Independent Work: Then Sensory: *You can view more about independent work on my blog(October 2013)
  • 54. A Sample of Direct Instruction Work System *You can view more about direct instruction on my blog (September 2013).
  • 55. A Sample of a Art Center Worksystem First- Structured Art Lesson for the Day ( In this picture making an elephant). First/Then Drawer System TIP- A good resource for step by step Art activities is Climbing Art Obstacles in Autism Then- Art Choices for the Week (In this picture playdough or smelly markers) 55
  • 56. A Sample of a Library Center Work System A closer look at the system Library Work System- First listen to the story of the day, Then-pick a book of your choice. *Our newest library system is a level box system. You can view details and a video about it on my blog, October 2013. 56
  • 57. A Sample of Pretend Play Work System *You can see more about this on my blog under pretend play or December 2013.
  • 58. A Sample of Social Small Group Work Systems List of students with which numbered box they should work on listed beside them. Numbered boxes with structured activities inside each.
  • 59. Sample of Carpet Play Work System Shelf of structured toys to play with towels attached to the top to flip down when play time is over. Structured place to sit. (Three cube chairs and one flipped on its side to use as a desk.)
  • 60. But What About When Their Skill Set Is Extremely Low Video of student doing a put in task at the library center.
  • 61. Why do work systems work? • Work systems decrease anxiety and increase the student’s ability to perform as they know what is expected of them and when the work will be over. • They provide clarity and understanding, giving students a step by step plan which helps build independence and success. . . Which in turn builds confidence!
  • 62. Or Their Skills are Unwanted Behaviors Video of student knocking over blocks during structured play.
  • 63. TIP- If a student is struggling reduce the amount of work they need to do, but always have them end on your terms, “One more then your all done.” Use their behavior as communication, “You don’t like this, this is hard, I will help you get started. . .” Video of student resisting work and transition.
  • 64. Social Narratives • Social narratives are interventions that describe social situations in some detail by highlighting relevant cues and offering examples of appropriate responding. • They are aimed at helping learners adjust to changes in routine and adapt their behaviors based on the social and physical cues of a situation, or to teach specific social skills or behaviors. • For more information about social narratives, refer to the work of Carol Gray and Social Stories, 1993, 1995. -The National Professional Development Center of Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • 65. An Example of a Social Narrative Video of student listening to a social story. Social Story for ways to calm Token System 65
  • 66. Tips for Writing Social Narratives • Social narratives are individualized according to learner needs and typically are quite short, perhaps including pictures or other visual aides. • Sentence types that are often used when constructing social narratives include descriptive, directive, perspective, affirmative, control, and cooperative. • It can be helpful to use student interests and their favorite characters to support their understanding and buy in. • To support generalization you can also add Power Cards and other visuals throughout their day.
  • 67. Example of Social Narrative Using a Favorite Character Video of a student using a social story after behavior. *The character in this example is Jake from Disney’s Jake and the Neverland Pirates
  • 68. The potential of social narratives is endless. I have used them for everything from volume control, to self regulation, turn taking, coming in from outdoors, restroom etiquette, using good table manners, etc. -See More Examples at
  • 69. Why do Social Narratives Work? • Social Narratives break skills down to teach children a better way. • Everyone is doing the best they can with the skills they have sometimes it is about teaching new skills.
  • 70. Video Modeling • Video modeling is a mode of teaching that uses video recording and display equipment to provide a visual model of the targeted behavior or skill. • Types of video modeling include basic video modeling, video self-modeling, point-of-view video modeling, and video prompting. -The National Professional Development Center of Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • 71. Example of Individual Video Modeling
  • 72. A Closer Look at the Ready/Not Ready Visual *See more details on my blog under February 2013.
  • 73. Example of Video Modeling in a Small Group. . .
  • 74. The Magic. . . 5 Minutes After Watching the Video Model! 74
  • 75. If there is a chaotic moment in your classroom (or with a specific student), the routine needs to be retaught or a new work system needs to be put in place. - Philosophy from the work of Dr. Becky Bailey and Conscious Discipline
  • 76. A Closer Look: Work Systems for Snack Jobs Snack Helpers Snack Supplies 76
  • 77. Tips for Video Modeling • There is no evidence showing that it has to be self modeling. You can ask peers or siblings to run through the activity you want a student to work on and record them doing so with a camera, phone, or iPad to later share with a child. • My Pictures Talk, Model Me Kids, and iModeling are three apps that can be used for video modeling on your iPhone or iPad. • You can use the strategy of video modeling with individuals or in a large group setting. We use it as part of our morning calendar time to talk about a skill the whole class will be working on for the day.
  • 78. Example of Video Modeling at Large Group
  • 79. Just like Social Narratives, the possibilities of Video Modeling are endless. It is definitely a medium to explore with all the technology that is readily available to us. Technology speaks to children, (in my experience especially to those with Autism)!
  • 80. Feeling Overwhelmed?!? Take a Deep Breath. . .
  • 81. And do the next right thing! -Judy Endow
  • 82. Individual Schedules, Visual Supports, Work Systems, Social Narratives, Video Modeling, Imagine the Possibilities. . . Video of students journey throughout her three years in preschool.
  • 83. Resources Bailey, B.A. (2000). Conscious discipline. Loving Guidance: Oviedo, FL. Burkhardt, L. (2013). Simplified technology Gray, C. (2013). The gray center for social learning and understanding. KISN- Summer Institute Training and Handouts, June 2010. Porter, G. (2009). Pragmatic organizational dynamic display. Mayer Johnson. TEACCH Autism Program. The University of North Carolina. The National Professional Development Center of Autism Spectrum Disorders. (2013). Whitaker, P. (2001). Challenging behaviour and autism: making sense making progress. The National Autism Society, London. 83
  • 84. For more resources and ideas visit my blog
  • 85. Or Let’s Be Friends. . . Like Considerate Classroom on Facebook: Follow Me on Pinterest: Or access my boards on Boardmaker Share under Considerate Classroom
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