As Autism Awareness Month is a few days away, creating an awareness and understanding of autism as the incidence continues to increase. Also important for those of us working with students with ASD is understanding and using evidence based practices (EBP) interventions. The National Professional Development Center on Autism provides a list of 24 EBP for children and youth with autism, with visual supports being one of them.
Visual supports, as defined by the National Professional Development Center on Autism, as ” any tool presented visually that supports an individual as he or she moves through the day. Visual supports might include, but are not limited to, pictures, written words, objects within the environment, arrangement of the environment or visual boundaries, schedules, maps, labels, organization systems, timelines, and scripts. They are used across settings to support individuals with ASD (National Research Council, 2001).”
Visual supports can be low tech paper schedules to schedules created on electronic devices providing photos, text and/or audio output. A combination of visual schedules is typically needed such as display of a hard copy classroom schedule in class, individual schedules or direction for individual students to using mobile electronic devices offering pictures, text and audio.
Here are a few of the many visual schedule apps available for mobile devices:
First Then Visual Schedule -iOS app by Good Karma provides customizable schedules that can be presented with a single picture, a first/then presentation or a list mode. It provides stock pictures and sound as well as the ability to record your own audio recording and import your own pictures and text. Numerous schedules can be created and edited according to your students need. Check off tool available when task is completed. Available for iOS and Android devices. 9.99.
iSee-quence app – a simpler visual schedule app providing customizable daily sequence events or a special event with personalized images, text and audio. Stock pictures also provided. One page presented at a time. Editing capabilities including hiding a page, moving a page provided. Option to add several users. Available for iPhone/iPad. 4.99.
What Now? is a visual schedule app that is text-based. Suited to individuals with the ability to read and write and follow time, What Now? provides a schedule list task or event and time. Start time and end time is entered to structure how long a task is scheduled for. Templates are available to customize. Available for iPhone/iPad. Free.
Routinely app – provides visual schedule tools to create scheduled events with the option of a count down timer within any task and choosing from up to four tasks. Provides stock images and importing your own for customization. Available for iPhone/iPad. 4.99.
My Timetable app – provides a text-based visual schedule with task or event and scheduled time visible. Option to color code scheduled tasks for easy identification. Suited to individuals with reading and awareness of digital time. iPhone/iPad. .99.
iPrompts XL – provides a visual schedule specifically for the iPad. Features include picture schedules, ability to import your own photos or use the image library, a countdown timer and choice prompts. 39.99 Also available for iPod/iPhone and Android 9.99.
The National Professional Development Center for Autism also offers information regarding their best practices research on visual supports. The research briefs on visual supports are available:
- Evidence Based for Visual Supports PDF
- Step for Implementation: Visual Schedule
- Implementation Checklist for Visual Schedules
National Professional Development Center on Autism, (nd). Evidence Based Practices: Visual Supports. Retrieved on March 28, 2013 from http://autismpdc.fpg.unc.edu/content/visual-supports .
What is your favorite visual schedule?
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