Picture schedules provide a way for people with diverse abilities to communicate their wants and needs. They help to organize the day (Begin With The End In Mind), provide a sense of predictability, and can be used as a visual aid for communication. Communication is one of the most important factors when providing support for people with diverse abilities. It is important to recognize that each individual has their own signs and symbols for communication. Therefore, it is important to find a schedule or picture system where the items are most familiar to the individual you are supporting.
There are a variety of picture schedule systems out there for people with diverse abilities including the Picture Exchange Communication System – I prefer using actual pictures that a person recognizes. Picture schedules not only provide support in learning communication skills such as following directions but they can also be used to promote socialization among peers. By placing pictures of events or items on a schedule, you can help promote socialization and cooperation among peers. This is especially important for people with diverse abilities who may have difficulty understanding the world around them.
We want to help individuals express their wants and needs, as well as provide a feeling of agency and control in their everyday lives. It may assist to decrease the amount of irritation and anxiety that people feel at certain times during the day. When individuals are better able to communicate their wants, needs, and emotions we are better able to provide proactive support.
Do you have experience using picture schedules to support individuals with diverse abilities? Share your tips and advice in the comments section below!