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!
Having a hard time getting your loved one/student to study independently?
Try using Visual Schedule Planner to "sandwich" study time between preferred activities. For example, if the individual has a project due at the end of the month, set a specific amount of time each day (or on specific days of the week) that are earmarked specifically for studying/research. To motivate the individual, try placing Study Time after a highly preferred activity (such as free time upon arrival home), and another motivating activity (like a snack, or TV time).
Placing a non-preferred activity between two motivating activities within a schedule can be extremely effective, especially for those individuals who respond well to "First/Then" concepts.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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. =)
Good Karma Apps
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