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.
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.
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.
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.
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. =)
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