PrAACtical Thinking Power of the Visual Planner

Published on July 20th, 2012 | by Robin Parker

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Power of the Visual Planner

Power of the Visual PlannerWe need to continue to talk about scheduling…..especially as we talk about tools for positive behavioral supports.  We know that having monthly, daily, and mini-schedules make us ALL feel more competent and calm.   We have written a lot about visual schedules and visual schedule resources because we have seen schedules reduce or eliminate so many  behavior challenges. They have helped with transitions, wandering away during activities,  activity completion, asking repetitive ‘‘when are we going ________ questions,  and with meltdowns during a less preferred activity. We also continue to write about schedules because there are still myths suggesting schedules might hinder independence when exactly the opposite is true.   
We personally continue to use  a combination of no-tech to high-tech visual schedules, but we are loving mobile schedules especially during the summer when we are traveling and moving around from place to place even more frequently than usual.  We gathered together 20 schedule apps for under $20.00.  Before making a choice, the following considerations may be helpful to you:
  • Think about the features that you need  from the schedule more than the cost of the app or you may find yourself needing to purchase more than one app.
  • Think about teaching a ‘change of schedule’ symbol so that  changes are  just a typical part of a schedule (we usually teach fun changes first – ‘swimming instead of errands’  and then we teach not so great changes (‘no swimming, coloring inside instead’)
  • Don’t forget to USE the schedules. Our students always need the schedules even more than we think.  They have shown us their need for the schedule by   writing in their own items (Disney World), or  changing items  (playground swapped for church), or get upset if we forget to put  an important activity in the schedule (‘home’ at the end of the school day).

20 scheduling apps- $20.00 and under:

Visual CuePower of the Visual Planner App Notes (just a few notes on each app, please see developer description for full features of the app, we have no financial incentive to recommend any these apps) Cost
 Power of the Visual Planner Choiceworks 3 scheduling boards in 1 app- schedules, waiting, & feeling. Generates companion books to support boards Digital timer.  Choice component for after schedule finished. Schedules can be saved $14.99
 Power of the Visual Planner VisualSchedulePlanner daily, weekly, monthly schedule view, events in schedule can be linked to video clip of mini schedule (dinner linked to video of making pasta). Note feature $14.99
 Power of the Visual Planner First-ThenVisual Schedule Create and share schedules, easily printable through PDF feature, checklist feature $9.99
 Power of the Visual Planner iSee-quenceMyDailySchedule, RecallMyDay, LearnCalendarConcepts Daily Schedule, can be customized, viewed in sequence or one picture at a time. Combination of social story and schedule but can be used as daily or mini schedule. $2.99
 Power of the Visual Planner VideoScheduler Create video segment schedule or picture schedules for daily or mini schedules. Can share and save schedules $12.99
 Power of the Visual Planner MyVideoSchedule Create videos for daily or mini schedules. Can set up repeats of events and has reward system option $18.99
 Power of the Visual Planner PictureScheduler Visual tasks with attached audio, video or picture. Tasks can have alarm reminder and can be repeated daily, weekly, monthly. Tasks can be organized into categories. Each category can have Tasks can be hidden and revealed when needed. $2.99
 Power of the Visual Planner TimeThis can be used with multiple students and notes can be added to each schedule (for data), uses clock picture or sand timer with image of activity $5.99
 Power of the Visual Planner StepbyStep For Mini Schedules, visual aide to go through steps to complete activity, can use with multiple students & keeps tract of length of time it took to complete each step $2.99
 Power of the Visual Planner VisualSchedule Daily, mini schedules & first then boards. $1.99
 Power of the Visual Planner VisualCueLite Daily or mini-schedules.  Also has timer, first-then and choice options. Free
Power of the Visual Planner Visules Primarily uses list mode with check offs. Can be used for daily or mini-schedules $4.99
 Power of the Visual Planner VisualRoutine Create daily schedules with a choice component to the schedule. Text/image/combination schedule option. $7.99
 Power of the Visual Planner PocketPicturePlanner Create monthly weekly, & daily calendars. Scheduled by digital time but more than 1 activity can be added within half hour blocks. Check off completion. Free
 Power of the Visual Planner CommunicateEasy Ability to create schedule and use check off system. Primarily basic communication system $4.99
 Power of the Visual Planner DayLeaf Daily or mini schedules for groups or individuals. $1.99
 Power of the Visual Planner AwesomeNote Primarily text-based, but stock images for category of task. General day planner app. No audio output $3.99
 Power of the Visual Planner FreeDayPlanner Primarily text-based, but stock images for category of task. General day planner app. No audio output. Free (in app purchase for no ads and extra features -$1.99)
 Power of the Visual Planner DoozyCalendar (VisualCalendarandTracker- “Do,See”) task management system with stock icons, can be used to track progress on a long task or modified daily schedule. No audio output. $2.99
 Power of the Visual Planner Proloquo2go UseyourAACappforschedules **Only if you have Proloquo2Go- Then embedded in your comprehensive AAC app. If thinking about getting an AAC app- cost is $189.99

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About the Author

Robin Parker

Robin Parker Robin Parker is a professor of speech language pathology who has loved supporting the communication and language of children and adults with autism spectrum disorders for more than 20 years. One of her professional passions is spreading the word about PrAACtical AAC. “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much." Helen Keller



3 Responses to Power of the Visual Planner

  1. Stephanie says:

    Do you advocate the use of an iOS device for a communication app (like Proloquo2go) and other apps like the ones in your list above?

    • Robin Parker says:

      Hi. Great question. I do use AAC apps with many of my students who use direct selection to access their device. I try and use the AAC app on an iTouch and and iPad so that there is mobile and very mobile communication. I still do a traditional feature match to determine which app meets the needs of the student and family. I use Proloquo2go, Touch Chat and Sono Flex quite frequently. However, sometimes families come in with an app that they have already bought and then I try and work within those constraints and when we outgrow the features we need then we switch. ALso, I still always have no-tech backups. The iOS devices are a great tool for many of my students but it is just a tool and all the AAC teaching principles and strategies must be applied. The good news though is I no longer have to spend a lot of time convincing teachers/families that AAC and visual supports are a good option. Please write with any further questions.

  2. Robin Parker says:

    About the visual planner apps, I use a variety of those as well. Some students need a no-tech visual support to learn the ‘system’ first while others do not.. I think of the planner issue like I do for myself and for general kids, if I would want it written vs electronic and then consider the specific student.

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