For an easy, functional activity that encourages both family time and independent living skills, try using our First Then Visual Schedule HD app for recipes.
To do this, find a simple recipe that is concrete and easy to follow, with minimal steps. Take pictures of each step and create a template for the individual to follow along with. At the end, you can either allow the food item itself to be the end reward, or you can choose another small token to encourage participation.
You can develop more complex recipe "schedules" as the individual learns to follow along with the steps and becomes more familiar with cooking tools. Happy eating!!!
New Program? No Problem!
Will your client/loved one be starting a new placement or program this fall?
Easing anxieties over a new placement, classroom, or program is essential for both short and long term success. Our apps can come in handy in this capacity as well.
Try giving your loved one/client some input over what they will wear, bring for lunch, etc. on the first day of their new program or class by using My Choice Board to offer them the ability to make these choices for themselves. This will give them a feeling of confidence as they enter into the new environment/situation.
If you have access to images of the new placement/classroom or can visit to take pictures yourself, use Scene Speak to create a social story/book of facts about the new program, including information about the teacher/supervisor, staff, classroom/building, and anything you notice that may capture their attention and hold it (if there's a bus yard close by and the individual loves buses, for example). The anticipation of entering into a new environment can become a positive thing if the individual has something interesting to look forward to.
If possible, make sure the schedule for the first day of attendance is iron-clad, to avoid the chaos that can accompany lack of structure. The more clear the individual can be about what will be happening, the easier it will be to accept the new placement/program. First Then Visual Schedule HD is excellent for this purpose, and once the regular structure of the program/classroom is established, Visual Schedule Planner can be used to form a more long-term schedule of daily events and activities.
Also, if any major changes will be occurring (for us, the program is not changing, but the teacher is getting married over the summer, which means her name will be different when school resumes), you can get your client or loved one accustomed to those changes before they return. Concepts like name changes, or even something as small as a haircut/color change can be distressing, and making sure those differences and changes are addressed before the individual goes back to the program/school can make for a smoother re-entry.
Creative Tips for Long Road Trips
Taking a trip this summer? Whether it's a few hours or a few days, we've got apps to help maintain structure and make transitions on vacation much easier.
For example, use Scene Speak to take pictures of car logos, then use the VSDs to create a book of cars to look for on a long road trip...or First Then Visual Schedule HD to create a travel itinerary, complete with stopovers. Our apps are so versatile, the potential uses are only limited by your imagination!
Helping individuals to follow written instructions:
Take a picture of each step in the instructions with your device (if your device has a camera function, older devices do not). You can then use each image in sequence as "steps" in your schedule, paired with an audio prompt like "Insert Part A into Part B." Adding video will further enhance the experience, as it may help the individual work through a particularly challenging part of the instructions.
If one step may be more complex/difficult than another, you can also use the app to break that one step up into a couple (or multiple) steps for the individual, to adapt the instructions to their level of capability or understanding, perhaps using the same photo of the step itself, but giving further instruction.
This works with everything from furniture instructions (for older individuals) to Lego/other toy assembly, model planes/cars, and anything else that may come with instructions that may not always be so easy for the individuals we love, work with, and care for to navigate.
Any tme you can set your loved one/client/student up for success and create a feeling of independence and accomplishment is a WIN!
Surviving Vacation Transitions
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.
Creating Chore Charts Using FTVS HD
Encouraging completion of chores/household tasks:
Looking for a creative way to encourage your loved one/client to complete chores at home, or even maximize efficiency in a vocational setting? Try using First Then Visual Schedule to provide a motivating and concrete set of instructions for completion. Here's how!
For individuals who are good at generalizing, you can create one master "chore list," with images that correspond to the required task. Audio prompts can be added, and videos of the individual completing the task can also be attached to further personlize the schedule. At the end of the chore list, try adding a motivator (a token, monetary amount for older individuals, or a preferred item/video) to signal that the chores are all completed and they can have their reward.
For those who may need more prompting to complete tasks, try breaking each chore/task down into multiple, easy-to-follow steps. an example of this would be an individual who has a difficult time cleaning their room, or keeping it organized. You can create a schedule solely for "Clean Your Room," and break down that task into each step required to fully complete the chore...keeping in mind those "fine details" that some individuals may miss. The schedule can then be further adapted to their level of understanding/individual capabilities.
This can be a great way to show the connection between task completion and "payment," which not only promotes a good work ethic, but also sets the individual up for success in keeping their environment clean and organized and potential future success within a job-type setting.
Potty Training/Prompting Tip:
Make toilet training/toilet reminders fun by using our First Then Visual Schedule app as a reinforcement tool. Take a picture of a toilet or other symbol and another of a highly preferred object (food, fidget, activity, etc.) Use the split screen mode to display them, and turn the labels on in the Settings menu (remember, these label names can be customized in FTVS HD). This will show the user that they must first use the toilet before they can have/do the preferred photo, working toward future toileting independence! Since it's fully portable, you can take it with you on public outings and long trips, making generalization to public toileting facilities much easier.
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.
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.
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