A Visual Calendar is unlike a calendar that shows the days of the month. It has pictures to visually show things "To Do" in order to help communicate with people with decreased language skills, or cognitive skills. Classes on communication will state communication is a two way flow; the sender and the receiver. Sometimes the receiver cannot show or demonstrate or communicate they have received the message and thus the sender is not confident communication has happened or not. Does that mean we should not try or worse yet stop trying? We never stop trying. This is my son, I love him more than anything and I will try to engage him and make his life as happy as I can for as long as I can. The Therapists said he will lose what little speech he has gained and you should communicate with him visually and suggested a visual calendar. What's that, I said to myself? I hope to share what I have learned in hopes of answering someone else's question when told the same thing.

I want to give you some insights. The Visual Calendar is a tool to help communicate. There is no right way or wrong way to use it. What works for one person might not work for another. One person communicates with the same child differently than another. Likewise what you find that works for one child might not work for another. This is a tool and the more tools you have the better chance you have of reaching into the tool box and pulling one out that does exactly what you need it to do.

Continually engaging and attempting to have shared experience becomes daily life living with a special needs child. There are some things I want to point out that applies to children in general. They like routine. It helps them figure the world out, how they should behave, how they interact with the world to have their needs met, what is appropriate, how to have fun, and enables them to learn. One of the first things I used a visual calendar for was transitions. From playing with the ball to transitioning to the dinner table, to transitioning to the sink, to transitioning to getting ready for bed. They like to know what is happening now and what is going to happen next. It is less stressful if you know what is going to happen next instead of things just changing. Children have little control of what happens in their life. Knowing that ear drops or medicine is coming up is better than having an oral syringe shoved in your mouth and being told to swallow while you were happily playing with a ball. Not to mention less stressful for the caregiver as well. Since kids have so very little control over what happens in their life they like to have choices. Wearing clothes is not an option but picking which shirt out of two is a choice they can make on their own. Transitions, First this, Then this and presenting choices are things to keep in mind. One last thing that also applies to all kids, Keep it fun. If you're not having fun do you really think the child is?

I have used a crude visual calendar with my son for the past 4 years and have taken what worked and what I discovered I could do better and created a new one and at the same time I wanted to share so I recorded what I did in this my first Instructable.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

4 - poster boards (2 Green, 2 Red) ~$4.00
1 - Roll 2" wide clear tape, packing tape
1 - Roll 2" Blue Painters Masking tape.
1 - 5' package of Velcro sticky back ~$10.00 (Do not get Industrial)
1 - Large Black Magic Marker
Pair of Scissors
Assortment of pictures of things you do. Printed and laminated at you local Office Supply store. 4" X 6" Laminated at the supply store is going to be nice and stiff like an ID and will hold up to repeated use.

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More by TheAZAndyman:How to make a Visual Calendar or TO DO Board 
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