Thursday, February 11, 2016

6 Reasons Why Individual Schedules Are So Essential

Across the state of North Carolina in those early years, TEACCH collaborators realized that giving students meaningful information about what was expected of them during their school and home lives helped them tremendously. This knowledge lead to our teaching students to use and rely upon individual daily schedules. We discovered

6 reasons why individual schedules are so essential

1.  Decreases behavioral issues
o   Eases anxiety about what is expected
2.   Increases flexibility
o   Creates routines for changes
3.  Increases on-task attention
o   Teaches delaying engagement in peak interests
4.  Increases independence
o   Promotes knowing what to do without continual prompting
5.  Encourages literacy
o   Instructs comprehension and reaction to visual information, a precursor to reading
6.  Increases abstract skills
o   Educates how to manage time, make choices, and stay organized

Today, use of a schedule, a visual support system that helps students track their daily events, is considered an evidence-based practice.

Some Examples of Visual Schedules

             First/Then Schedule with Actual Objects      First/Then Schedule with Concrete Photos

More Abstract Drawings/Part-Day Schedule     Written Word/Part-Day Schedule
You can probably tell that we think it is invaluable for every student with ASD to use individual daily schedules. Yet we are also aware that making these schedules for each student is time-consuming. As former teachers and consultants to teachers, Laurie, Kathy, and I are also aware of the constant demands on teachers’ time.

To bridge the gap between the desire to create schedules for students and utilize this acknowledged best practice yet having so little time actually to make them, we decided to offer pre-made, ready-to-cut-&-use

Visual Schedules: Early Learning Packs
These are designed for students in preschool, kindergarten, and early elementary programs.

We are offering 3 different packs based on which visual cue best fits students’ developmental level of understanding and comprehension.

              Color Photos         Black-and-White Line Drawings        Written Words              
(Remember some students may need much practice using an actual object before being able to comprehend the meaning of any of these visual cues.)

The EARLY LEARNING PACK also includes
One large card for mounting in the activity area and 12 small cards for students to match in the center location. 

We have made visual indicators for 18 different centers, such as blocks, computer, outside, circle time, teacher time, etc. plus 2 blank template pages for creating your own visual cues that will be specific to student’s classroom or home situation.

We know these cards need to be sturdy so they are already laminated for durability.

Additionally, the cards are easily adapted for inclusive settings.


If one of these time-saving packs (photos, B&W drawings, or written text) will help your students and you, please visit for more information.

Our planned release is Feb. 14 just in time for a special treat for the loving caregiver in your life!

Here are some informational resources about using schedules that we have found helpful.


Monday, February 1, 2016

Task of the Month: Happy Valentine’s Day

Our February 2016 Task of the Month was created by Karen Anderson. Karen’s creativity in task-making is delightful! Her insights into structuring play and making learning meaningful are truly appreciated by students, staff, and families.

For this task Karen recycled a fun Valentines candy box. She then cut Styrofoam into small pieces and painted them to look like chocolates.

To encourage students to pretend in their play, in this task they are taught to feed the animal each chocolate and then put the candies into a finished box. Placing the chocolates eaten into a finish place helps students track their progress so they know how many have been “eaten” and how many are yet to be “eaten”.

Next steps may be to have the chocolates in a container to the side, feed the puppy and then place the chocolates into the Valentine candy box. The students would have to match the outline of the candy to be sure they were putting each one into the proper slot.

We often begin teaching our concrete learners how to imagine a scenario by teaching them a script to go along with their actions, such as, “Here, you are, puppy. Yum, yum, yum, all done!”

Students more advanced in their pretend play could use the same materials but have a sequence of imaginative steps, such as cooking the chocolates, packaging the candies in a Valentine heart-shaped box, and giving the box to a friend to open and pretend to eat and share.

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