A Myth About Visual Schedules Lives On – Again:(:(

June 8, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts

A PrAACtical AAC Myth Lives On
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A myth about visual schedules continues to rear its ugly head in a prAACtical situation.  Another family was instructed to discontinue a visual schedule because “the schedule will become a crutch, the schedule will result in dependence, and the schedule can not be used forever or all over town”.

I need to start with an apology for not following up after my earlier post when I first realized that the visual schedule myth lived on.  Maybe my punishment was hearing the same myth repeated  (though it doesn’t seem fair that a student was impacted in the process).  But maybe it was a teaching opportunity for me.  It certainly made me respond quickly.

So now for the down and dirty summary of my conversation with the other ‘professional’ . Having the conversation was my attempt at helping my student receive the visual language supports that she needed.  I have to admit, it seemed that the ‘professional’ cared deeply about helping the student.  So during our conversation, I tried a few strategies:

  1.   Respect– I approached the ‘professional’ with respect and humility.
  2. Resources– I offered to send resources to support the philosophy of AAC systems
  3. Explanations– I offered explanations of schedules, mini-schedules, calendars and the different ways to use them
  4. Compliment- I tried to compliment when appropriate (ok- I failed miserably here until the end when I tried to end on a more positive note)
  5. Offered to demonstrate effectiveness of visual schedules
  6. Common Ground-  Tried to find common ground where ever possible. I did notice that at times we were in agreement in practice if not terminology or philosophy.

So were the strategies effective?  a meek yes. The professional will probably  be using monthly, daily, and mini schedules with the student. And that is the most important thing. However, in our long sometimes heated discussion I realized that the  ‘professional’ had an underlying philosophy about AAC systems that was incorrect. The faulty assumption was that she thought that communication with a symbol was communication of dependence instead of a victory for authentic communication, language, and/or understanding.

So what did I do…..I tried really hard to take my own emotion out of it (I really needed a self calming visual support) and instead remembered that a variety of schedules would be used.  I will also let the student’s improvements speak for themselves.  I will update this post in a few weeks to let you know if  “the ‘proof was in the pudding’ as the saying goes.

Visual Support Resources
Rationales for using Schedules to Create Independence
Please let us know how you combat AAC system myths….

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This post was written by Robin Parker

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