THIS INSTRUCTABLE IS DEDICATED TO DANIEL, THE FIRST BOY I WORKED WITH IN AN IN-HOME PROGRAM. BACK THEN DANIEL AND I WERE BOTH STUDENT AND TEACHER. :-)
I know this isn't going to win brownie points for most of the instructables crowd but if you know someone who has a disability such as autism, this portable/ traveling schedule could be a lifesaver when it comes to behaviors such as meltdowns and tantrums.
DID YOU KNOW:
1 in 88 children have autism according to the CDC.
April is Autism month.
I used to work as a behavior specialist and created this after realizing the necessity for one.
Can you imagine being on called for a your job and not knowing when you are suppose to go in? Then when you least suspect it, you get a call to go in. You get all dressed up and head to work only to find out that they don't want you to work your normal job but instead usher you into the emergency room to do a triple bypass. Not only are you dressed up in a business suit, you aren't even a surgeon. Perhaps the most you have done is put a Band-Aid on your child's boo-boo. For some children, especially those with autism, not knowing what to expect out of a day easy as stressful as attempting triple bypass.
A schedule is designed to help a child know what to expect and for those who think in pictures or communicate through PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) this portable schedule could be a lifesaver.
The concept of a portable schedule came from a PECS training. However, there were no samples available of what one looked like so I never made one. Then a year later at one of my schools, one of my students was having a tantrum outside by the fence leading to the park. The para who was working with her attempted several times to tell her that the park was after lunch. The girl just continued to cry and lay on the ground. I ran inside to grab her classroom schedule which was done with icons. When the para showed her how the park icon was after the lunch icon, to our amazement, the girl immediately got up and went directly to class. Communication is such a beautiful thing. It was that night that I created this schedule. A picture is definitely worth a 100 words.
*Disclaimer: I am not a board certified behavior analysis, please consult with the appropriate authorizes if you need positive support in your child's behaviors.
Step 1: Gathering Your Materials
Colored construction/ card stock paper
stickers to decorate with
masking tape (or laminator and laminating sheets)
hard and soft Velcro cut into small pieces
TIPS ON MATERIALS:
Construction paper: Pick a bright color, that way it's easy to find.
Scissors: But TITANIUM, nonstick scissors, they work the best on cutting tape and Velcro because the sticky stuff is easy to clean off of them
Sharpie: Carry this and some blank white icons handy. Sharpie is perfect to draw on an icon you need when you don't have one already made.
Masking tape: While I have a laminator and laminating sheets, I intended this instructable for someone who may not have those materials readily available. Remember that if you are laminating to allow a clear plastic trim around your icons to allow them to last longer.
Hard and Soft Velcro: The rough edge Velcro is called hard and the other is called soft. Based in research many have gone with the tradition of using the soft Velcro for icons because it is touched the most and some children may stem on the rough texture of hard Velcro.
Step 2: Making the Schedule
1. Cut the color paper into 6 rectangles sized 3.5" x 4".
2. Laminate each sheet by taping the front and back with masking tape. Trim excess.
3. Create icons using pen on cut white paper sized squares 1.25" x 1.25". Laminate, trim excess, then add soft Velcro to the back of each one.
4. Use white paper to make a "first" and "then" heading and tape them to a green square after you use a sharpie to draw the sides.
5. Use masking tape to attach the green rectangles together on the shorten side. Make sure to leave a bit of space to allow for the 2 pieces to fold like an accordion as shown. The "first and then" rectangle should be on the bottom.
6. Cut and tape small hard Velcro to the first and then and going down the other squares. The only square no needing Velcro is the front cover for now.
7. Cut a 2" strip of green paper, laminate it, and then attach it to the bottom of the "first and then" and the bottom of the front as shown.
8. Decorate the cover/front by with child's name and stickers to personalize.
Children like adults are motivated by things they like. So try to balance less preferred activities with more preferred activities. As shown on the "first and then" the child will get rewarded with an iPad after finishing homework.
Praise a child often for doing things right. Children are going to seek attention anyways, so you might as well give them positive attention.
Be patience. Children with special needs have a different view on life than you. Step into their shoes.