Thursday, July 11, 2013

Portable Schedule Board System

Like most children with Autism, Bubble and Squeak thrive on predictability and routine. They also both work best with visual aids and prompts so schedule boards are used a lot in our home.
We have night time routines, morning routines, schedule boards for packing their school bags and selection charts for choosing their snacks. Our schedule boards are forever changing and adapting to suit the girls needs.
Recently I made a portable schedule board system for using when we are out which has reduced the number and duration of Squeak's melt downs and greatly helped with Bubble's anxiety when we are away from home.
For us, this system has worked brilliantly, especially with Squeak who was prone to regular and explosive meltdowns. The entire system stays in my hand bag (or rather, in my ridiculously giant satchel bag) so that I can create a schedule board at any time and for any given situation with minimal fuss.


* zippered folder file to hold everything
* mini clipboard
* pen
* whiteboard marker
* post its (sticky notes)
* laminated A6 sheet
* reward stickers

I found a cheap zipper file in our local dollar shop which holds all the bits and pieces perfectly and fits well inside my handbag.

The contents of the file folder.

The mini clipboard is the perfect size to not only fit inside my bag but also for the girls to hold and carry around with them when in use.

I pick up sticky note pads from our local dollar shop in all sorts of colours and shapes.

To create a schedule board when we are away from home I use the post it notes and stick them to the clip board.
Above is an example of how we might use the schedule board at our local supermarket. 
Squeak used to instantly melt down when we entered the shops because she wanted to look at the toy section (she has a Lalaloopsie obsession and likes to count how many are on the shelf). It didn't matter what I did or said, the meltdown would escalate to the point of no return within seconds, whether we visited the toy section or not.
For her, the anxiety of not knowing exactly when we would get to that section was too overwhelming and it got to the point where her screaming would start as we pulled up in the car park outside. 
Now, before we even enter the supermarket, I make her a board showing each of the sections we are going to visit with the toy section at the end. We read through it together so she knows where we are going. As we finish our shopping in each section she removes the post it note and can see where we are going next and how long it will be until she gets to look at the toys.

This system gives her an element of control and reassurance, and we now actually get to grab some groceries!

Stickers work well as an incentive for both of our girls so I like to keep them on hand to use them as rewards when they have overcome something significant (like sitting through a wait at the doctors office or not running off during a shopping trip).

Inside the small pouch I also carry around some schedule cards and blutac. I used Google Images to locate pictures of everywhere we go in a given week and then printed and laminated them. Sometimes I use these instead of post it notes and attach them to the clip board using sticky tack.

Occasionally we will use the white board marker to make schedule boards as well. The girls like that they can rub off each stage as it is completed.

We also carry our Reminder Necklaces inside the schedule kit, you can read about these in this post HERE.

Do you have any techniques that work well for your children when you are out and about? I would love for you to share them.

Over the next week we will be doing a series of posts on different techniques we use to help our girls self regulate and reduce melt downs when we are out of the house. 
All children (on the spectrum and not) are different, so not every idea will work for your child and family. If not hopefully they may inspire an idea or technique that will.
Please feel free to share any ideas your family has for making daily routines and outings run  smoothly.

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