A Myth About Visual Schedules Lives On – Again:(:(
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:
- Respect– I approached the ‘professional’ with respect and humility.
- Resources– I offered to send resources to support the philosophy of AAC systems
- Explanations– I offered explanations of schedules, mini-schedules, calendars and the different ways to use them
- 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)
- Offered to demonstrate effectiveness of visual schedules
- 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 Schedule Systems
- Indiana Resource Center for Autism
- Virginia Department of Education Training and technical Assistance Center
Filed under: PrAACtical Thinking
This post was written by Robin Parker