Those visual schedules with the strip of Velcro and picture symbols are pretty much standard for any autism classroom. What if you are working with a student that doesn’t even have the skill to follow the simplest schedule (don’t be surprised; it does happen!)?
One of the new schedules I implemented this year was for a student who could really use some practice following a really simple picture schedule. I took one of those small binders to use as his schedule.
The first thing I did was take a picture of something that is super reinforcing to the student. In this case, my student loves hanging out in the break area (can you blame him? Check out that futon!).
This will always be the very last page of the picture schedule, so that there is some sort of reinforcer at the end of the schedule to motivate him or her to complete it. I usually have his 1 to 1 paraprofessional present but hanging back while he completes the schedule. If the student needs prompting, he's there to do so.
I used backwards chaining to help him learn his schedule. Every time before he sits down to complete the schedule, I add a new picture of an independent task for him to complete before he completed the tasks that were already in the binder. I kept everything he would need on a shelf.
Want to know one of the coolest things about these picture schedules? After the student learns how to efficiently and independently use these schedules, the learning doesn’t end there. It may sound a little mean, but you can totally mess with your kids and hide an item or two needed to complete the task so that your students has to request it from you. The reinforcing activity/item at the end of the schedule will definitely be motivation for the student to request items to complete the tasks, given that you have picked a strong enough reinforcer.