If your loved one or client will be attending a new school or program this year, try locating pictures of the campus or building compound (taking your own is ideal, but many can be found online) and use our Scene Speak app to create a virtual "map" for the individual to learn about their new environment. You can include locations of restrooms for those who may need to make frequent trips, drinkingfountains for those who may require extra hydration, and key places like offices, administrative buildings, classrooms (for those in school)...the possibilities are limited only by your imagination!
For those who may be starting middle or high school, this can alleviate much of the stress that comes with trying to navigate class changes (if applicable), learning teacher names (these can be added as captions to the images), and juggling class schedules (which also can be imported into the app and labeled for easy reference).
Start the year off smoothly by incorporating Good Karma Apps into your daily life experiences!
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.
Do you have a love one/client that fails to recognize the difference between "stranger" and "friend?"
Everything from inappropriate touching (i.e., hugging strangers, talking to people in public they do not know, etc.) can lead to misunderstandings - and sometimes worse.
To help with this, you can create flashcards/books using our Scene Speak app that address and reiterate who is safe to approach and who should be kept at a safe distance. Mix in familiar people (doctors, teachers, aides, therapists, family members, and friends) with randomized pictures of people the individual has never met before, and pair them with questions (or use language of your choice to describe "stranger danger") in order to establish familiarity with those who are all right to approach while separating them from people who are unknown.
This can also be used for young children, who can benefit from learning the difference between "familiar person" and "stranger."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Letters, Numbers, Reading, and Math (oh my!):
If you want to teach an academic concept involving visual recognition and memory to your loved one, try using Scene Speak to make "flashcards" of the information you'd like to teach. This works well in therapeutic settings as well as at school and home. You can use the internet search feature (or your own image library) to create VSDs of individual letters, numbers, colors, emotions...there are endless possibilities. Each can then be placed into a book of their very own, for easy access and organization. You can further enhance the experience and promote independent usage by adding text or hotspots to the VSDs.
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