Monday, October 23, 2017

Visuals Schedules in the Classroom


                  Visuals are key to any special education classroom. Google it and you are going to find TONS! Sometimes though, especially if you are just beginning your journey as a special education teacher you are going to get overwhelmed! 


What visuals DO you need?

Where DO you start?

How DO you know if you've picked the right one??

All these questions were questions I struggled with my first few years of teaching. I'd like to help you answer those questions and share some of my go-to visuals that have worked in my classroom over the years.

First, let's start with WHAT visual are: (via. www.northstarpaths.com)

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No really, visuals are a way for students to understand what we are asking them. In a way you have to think of students with autism and sometimes students with other disabilities like a funnel that has only room for a small amount of information at one time. When you are talking, talking, talking to them only a bit of that is going in. So using visuals makes it easier for that student to process information. I like to share this visual with my paraprofessionals when I explain this to them. 
I also think that we need to think about why visuals are the best choices for our students this is another graphic that I feel like explains things so much better then if I wrote paragraph after paragraph about it. If you think about it visuals help everyone and they are not just for individuals with disabilities. Think about all the places around you that have visuals and how you use them to do things everyday. You use stop signs, traffic lights, exit signs, restaurant logos, and MORE! 


What visuals do you need?? Well I'd start with basics! SCHEDULES!


This is my central schedule stations. If you take a close look at this picture there are different kinds of visuals and schedules. I have your typical class period schedule. I have picture schedules (which if you keep reading you'll get a closer look) and on those empty clipboard you are going to also see my table like schedules go on there for my students that are getting better at reading and don't need the visuals as much!  

This is my visual flip schedule it is super awesome for students that have fine motor difficulties or for those schedules that you are ALWAYS losing the pieces. The students just push the flap closed when they are finished.  Everything is connected. You can check them out here! 

I also have schedules for students that look more like a typical schedule. Here is a picture of one. Where the time, event, and place for the student to take a dry-erase marker and check it off when it is finished. I've also in the past, incorporated visuals if I felt the student needed it. This I just created in a word document as a table. 


 Lastly, this schedule is for students during work tasks. They use the numbers and follow the order of the schedule to complete their work. I have even used visuals to show the student that they can earn breaks. It helps the students know when something is coming and that there is a reinforcer coming for all the work they are doing. We all want to know when our paycheck is coming right???
Here are some other types of visuals I have in my room and feel like I couldn't live without! 

Morning Meeting Visuals! 

Rules Visuals!!! (under the clock)

Sensory Room Visuals (yoga poses to do in a body sock)

Work Task Visuals
This helps students complete the task easier by having a visual representation. 


Just know, if you don't know how to teach a student to do something or explain it to them revert to a visual!! It can always be the way to communicate with our students things that we want them to do or understand. It also can ease their anxiety to know that there is a schedule, a plan, and an end result to something if you provide them with a schedule. 


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