Summer is almost at an end! For those of you not in year round school or day programs, it's likely been a VERY long couple of months - full of the usual day-to-day activities, and maybe some fun day trips and vacations thrown into the mix.
For a fun and interactive way to create a digital "scrapbook," take all of those pictures you've been snapping all summer long and upload them into our SceneSpeak app. From there, you can add text for a more book-like retelling of your summertime adventures, or take it to an interactive level by adding hotspots to your images that come alive when your loved one or client taps them.
This way, the individual can look back upon all of the amazing things they did this summer and recall all of the fun they had. Who knows? It may even become one of their favorite leisure time activities.
Our Visual Schedule Planner app is great for helping loved ones/clients remember important dates like birthdays and anniversaries. In addition to therapies, doctor appointments, school/day program schedules, routines, etc., it can be used as a tool to mark and remind the user of these dates, so they do not get overlooked.
It might also help us remember too!
Summer Trip Survivial Tip:
If you're taking a big trip to a theme park or other large area requiring many transitions this summer, try using our apps to alleviate some of the stress involved in changing activities.
Scene Speak can be used to give your loved one complete visual access to the entire facility/area, and hotspots can be created to allow them to have input over where you go next and what comes next. Simply label the desired area with a hotspot, make several "places" available, and allow the user to touch the space they wish to visit next. This will foster an excitement and involvement in the chosen activity, and give them the power of choice during an activity.
You can also simplify it for an individual who may already be familiar with the vacation spot by using My Choice Board to offer them a choice between activities, rides, etc. To avoid indecision, it may be helpful to offer one preferred and non-preferred place. That way, the individual still feels they are having a "say" in the day's activities, and pictures can be taken and used quickly.
For lunchtime, toileting, and any other shorter activity, First Then Visual Schedule can be used to create a step by step guide for your loved one to know exactly what is coming next within a specific activity. For users who are good at generalizing, you can also use the app to plan out each activity beforehand, and offer choices (or even a video of a rollercoaster or other applicable activity) to further enhance the experience/choice making.
Encouraging Family Time/Recreational Activity Participation:
Every individual in a household or family should feel that they are active participants in the recreational/leisure activities of the house. It's easy to include a loved one, roommate, or client in these activities using our My Choice Board app.
You can create a choice board for each individual activity type (example: board games), or simply have a "Recreation" board, where the field of choice contains several different types of options/activities. The options offered should always include available, tangible items to avoid confusion or disappointment.
These types of activities encourage active participation in family/group activities, and allow for the individual to know that they are just as valuable and important to the family/group as every other member. Having influence over the structure of recreational activities can be empowering for our loved ones/clients and helps include them in meaningful ways. This can also work in a school setting, when it comes to choosing classroom chores, recess games, or any other activity in class where the individual can make a concrete choice and guide the group's activity.
Will you be traveling to visit family this summer?
For many individuals, it is difficult to remember those family members who may not live within the immediate area. When planning a trip to see extended/unfamiliar family, you can use Scene Speak to create a VSD and place hotspots on a map image (one that includes your ending destination). At the end, you can prompt "grandma's house" or whatever relative you may be visiting, to help the individual learn the concept of being far from home, and to provide a visual basis for the reference. This can help individuals who may be "homebodies" or become homesick easily to alleviate some of the resulting anxiety.
To help with "family member recall," you can also use Scene Speak to create a book of family members, with pictures and audio labels, so that the people you are visiting seem more familiar and less like strangers. This may help your loved one to open up more easily to family members who are likely excited to see them! The VSDs can be individualized (maybe include a personal and relatable detail in text acoss the page, like "Uncle Frank likes to play video games"). The book can have a simple title, like "My Family," and can be engaging on multiple levels. As the individual learns more about their family, they may be motivated to interact more with them, which is good for our loved ones as well as the many people who want to love them!
Fourth of July celebrations can be chaotic and noisy, especially if you have a loved one with sensory issues. To alleviate stress this holiday, try using Scene Speak to create a social story about viewing fireworks and/or entertaining guests. It can be as simple or as complex as you'd like, but social stories help individuals get through unfamiliar or potentially aversive activities, and can ease some of the stressors that accompany such a festive day.
You can also use First Then Visual Schedule to create a "timeline of events" - including visitors as well as celebratory events (try pairing the fireworks step with a short video of fireworks to help prepare/desensitize your loved one) and offering some preferred choices at the end of the schedule. It can be easier to "get through" an unfamiliar event if there is an anticipation of an ending.
Using headphones and soft music on the device during the fireworks portion of the evening can also help decrease some of the stimuli involved with Independence Day celebrations. Holidays are infinitely more fun if everyone can be involved to their level of comfort!
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