Promoting Independent Choices:
Everyone likes to have some measure of control over their lives and the choices that affect them. Here's some great ways to use our My Choice Board app to afford your loved one/student/client the ability to begin exerting some independence regarding their daily choices:
Instead of simply choosing an outfit for the individual, see if you can engage them in choosing their own shirt, pants, etc. Even a small gesture like this (if the individual is able to make that type of decision, of course!) can boost self esteem and raise confidence levels. The same can be done when it comes to breakfast foods (which are usually individual, as opposed to dinner, which feeds the entire household), summertime activities (maybe the park is more intriguing that day than a walk on the beach), books from the library or home, and anything else in your daily schedule that entails making specific decisions about a thing or activity that the individual can provide input for.
Building self-esteem, self assuredness, and environmental confidence are just a few of the many ways that My Choice Board can benefit your clients, students, and loved ones.
The "Notes" feature of Visual Schedule Planner can be used for parents/caregivers to communicate with therapists, teachers, day program staff, vocational trainers, and anyone else the app user interacts with on a daily basis. This is an excellent way to maintain continuity between programs/therapies, while also opening a daily dialogue between home and school/work/training.
Everything from behaviors to self help successes to toileting can be tracked and shared using this feature of the app, which can provide a comprehensive support and communication mechanism for both caregivers and the individual using the app.
Shopping Trips Made Easier:
First Then Visual Schedule HD can be used to create a shopping list, complete with pictures and audio prompts. If there are multiple brands of an item that you use, it is easy to add a choice board to reflect those options as well.
At the store, you can give your loved one/client the device, and allow them to take part in locating the items on their "digital shopping list," checking them off in one of the five available viewing modes before moving onto the next item. This promotes independence when shopping for essential items.
If you have a younger individual, this can also come in handy to keep them engaged when shopping with an adult while also involving them in a routine practice that encourages the development of self help skills and helps them learn how to navigate a routine outing.
Want to maintain academic skills during the summer?
Use First Then Visual Schedule to plan out worksheet time, book reading, writing exercises...there are many ways to use the app creatively in order to promote structured learning activities over the long summer months. With FTVS HD, you can even add in timers, to allocate each subject a set amount of time.
Use the "Choice Board" feature of our First Then Visual Schedule HD app to create a menu of preferred items within a schedule for your restauraunt outing. You can use either preloaded generic graphics, your own camera pics of menu items, or you can find images using the internet search feature of the app.
Our Scene Speak app is also a handy tool for using an image of the entire restaurant menu and adding in hotspots that will "talk" when touched. You can add voice or text to the hotspot so that the user can "order" from the virtual menu by simply tapping within the hotspot on the menu image.
This enagages the user in actively participating in the outing in a meaningful way by giving them a choice in what they wish to eat while promoting expressive language.
Taking your loved one to the doctor can be especially difficult when he/she is unable to let the doctor know how they are feeling.
Scene Speak can be an excellent tool to use in order to afford your loved one the ability to express what is happening within their body, and to let the doctor know "where it hurts."
There are a couple of ways that you can accomplish this. The first would be to use one of the preloaded templates within the app itself to create hotspots that label individual body parts. You can also add a picture of your own as its own VSD, and label your loved one's actual body parts to make it even more personalized for them (this works especially well when you're working with someone who may have a hard time generalizing).
Scene Speak is one of many ways that Good Karma Apps has available to help you give your loved one back their voice. =)
Promoting Good Hygiene Routines:
Our apps can be used for many purposes, as we've hopefully demonstrated over the course of the summer! Some of the best uses for our First Then Visual Schedule HD app involve those tasks that are short-term in nature and require step-by-step guidance. Since maintaining proper hygiene can be challenging at times for many individuals (for a variety of reasons), today's "Tips & Tricks" will touch upon using FTVS HD to encourage appropriate hygiene routines.
Showering, toileting, handwashing, and tooth brushing are all great hygiene activities that have concrete steps which can be translated easily into a visual, digital presentation. First Then Visual Schedule HD can be used to capture an image of each step (there are some great visuals to be found using the Internet search feature!) and then paired with audio and/or video in order to further model the activity.
These schedules can be as detailed or simple as the individual needs. Activities like toothbrushing can be timed using the timer features, and can be further broken down into timed steps (for example, after the preliminary "wet toothbrush" and "put toothpaste on toothbrush" steps, one step can be "Brush Top Right" paired with a 30 second timer, "Brush Bottom Left" paired with a 30 second timer, etc., for a total of 2 minutes - the recommended length of time for tooth brushing). Handwashing schedules can be created in the same fashion, using a 30-second timer for the "scrubbing" step of the handwashing schedule. You can even record a short song in place of the visual label to make the activity more appealing and interesting. This is an excellent reinforcement tool when using the schedule to promote independent toileting too!
Note: If using the app for showering purposes, do NOT allow the individual to take their device into the shower with them! Instead, try going over the schedule several times with the individual to familiarize them with the steps, then place the device in a safe place within hearing distance. Set adequate timers for all steps in the showering schedule, allowing for ample "wash time." Then, you can enable alarm sounds for the end of each step. If you have a clear shower curtain, this will allow the individual to follow along with the steps visually. A caregiver can also sit in the room to touch each step as the timer runs out, offering an audio prompt to move onto the next step (especially effective when coupled with the alert sound for the timer).
Whether you're using First Then Visual Schedule HD to promote independent hygiene skills or using it as a reference to keep an individual requiring physical assistance calm through the activity (so they know what's coming next), this app has everything you need for a successful foundation and skill building opportunity.
Do you need to add in a timed prompt/break between steps in your schedule using First Then Visual Schedule HD?
Try adding a "holding step" between regular steps in your existing schedule, then attaching a timer for the length of time that you desire for the prompting step. You can add in an audio prompt of your choice (voice, etc.) to "alert" the user and remind them to stay on task.
When your schedule plays out, they will have an extra "step" in between regular schedule items to bring them back to the task at hand. This is effective for those individuals may need a small break between steps to redirect them to their schedule.
Teaching Appropriate Dress For Weather:
There are many reasons an individual may not be able to dress themselves appropriately for the weather. Sensory aversion to certain fabrics, lack of body awareness, etc. can all contribute to an individual's inability to properly dress according to the weather outside. Here are a few suggestions that may help - while also teaching the individual how to dress comfortably for hot, cold, and/or inclement weather.
Scene Speak can be used to create social stories about different types of weather. Hotspots can be added with text or speech that further enhance the story. Read along text can also be added to each VSD in order to make the story even more dynamic.
Our My Choice Board app can be used to quickly get images and display them efficiently for the app user to choose their own initial outfit.
For those individuals who already use First Then Visual Schedule (HD) for dressing schedules, adding in a choice board - for example, "Put on shirt" could flip to a field of several choices, long and short sleeved...or "Put on pants" could flip to a choice board containing both shorts and long pants - can afford the individual the opportunity to learn how to gauge what should be worn according to the weather outside. Further prompting can be used to promote the environmental awareness necessary to gauge for themselves what articles of clothing should be worn in different types of weather.
We strive to provide apps that are as multi-dimensional as our hopes and dreams for our loved ones. =)
Taking a long road trip this summer?
Involve your client/student/loved one in any long trip you're taking by taking an image of the area you'll be traveling (for instance, a trip from Northern to Southern California would require a map of California) and using Scene Speak to create hotspots within the image that tell the user where they are on the map. You may want to include rest areas, gas stations, hotels, and any other place that you plan to stop. This helps engage the user in the trip they're on, learn about different places along the way, and will provide them with a point of reference so they can see how far away from home they get each day. Soothing anxieties related to the Unknown during long vacations and trips is essential for a fun, happy, and successful trip!
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