Thursday, July 28, 2011

Positively Autism July 2011 Newsletter

July Topic: Visual Schedules
This topic will continue next month.

What is a Visual Schedule?

Why Use Visual Schedules?

Visual Support Video Series: How to Use Picture and Object Schedules

Product Review of SchKIDules

Autism Activity Schedules Video

Bestselling Special Education Supplies

Product Review of Special Needs Planner

July 2011 Positive Autism News

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

July 2011 Positive Autism News

College for Autistic Students Isn't Easy, but it is Possible
July 8, 2011
Orlando Sentinel,0,489662.story

Autistic Children Surf the Waves at Brighton Avenue Beach 
July 18, 2011
The Star-Ledger

Extraordinary Artist Stephen Wiltshire Sees Cities Once, Draws Detailed Panoramas From Memory
July 19, 2011
ABC News

Autistic Artist: Kendall Collins' Passion for Trains Embarks Artistic Career
July 16, 2011
Porterville Recorder‎‎

This last one isn't a positive news story, but I was still inspired by his story and thought it was worth listing here.
Army Spc. Jameson Lindskog, 23, Pleasanton; Among 6 Killed in Afghan Firefight
"The medic took a single-minded, methodical approach to his job that earned him respect and admiration from officers and enlisted alike, his parents were told."
July 24, 2011
Los Angeles Times,0,4671554.story

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Review of Special Needs Planner

A day planner and calendar created for parents of children with special needs. In the introduction, the planner is described as being designed to “help you organize not only your homeschool days, but the additional tasks involved in raising your special child.” While the planner is specifically directed at homeschooling families, other families may find much of the planner helpful, such as the forms for keeping track of therapy and medical appointments, and the high-quality photo task analysis schedules. The planner also contains GFCF recipes, evaluation/testing tracking sheets, medical history and other medical reports, medication information, a behavior diary, a food diary, a bedtime routine form (useful for leaving with babysitters or other caregivers), chore charts (with pictures), and a behavior reward/point chart. The planner is filled in by the parent either by typing into the PDF document or by printing it out and writing on it.

I can see this planner being very helpful in keeping a parent very organized. It allows you to keep a great deal of important information about your child in one convenient place.

Includes a wide variety of useful forms, as described above.

The visual task analysis forms for various life skills were great! They include high-quality, full-color photos of children completing the steps involved in a variety of skills including washing hands, brushing teeth, checking a book out of the library, cleaning a child’s bedroom, and many more.

Provides tips and articles about homeschooling a child with special needs.

Some of the forms were very general and I’m not exactly sure how they would be used by a family.
Much of the planner is comprised of various calendars, almost identical to a calendar you could purchase from any store.

Overall, I believe that this planner would be helpful for any family of a child with a disability who would like to have one organized location to keep all relevant medical and educational information about their child. Data collection about behaviors and learning and how these may be linked with medications, eating habits, and sleep patterns is important for students with autism, and this planner may help track that information. I’m not sure it would be that valuable to teachers or other educators, with the exception of a few of the forms and the picture task analysis sheets. The planner seems to be a helpful resource and I would recommend it for parents, families, and caregivers. You can view sample pages of the planner here:

The download of the planner can be purchased here:

A CD of the planner can be purchased here:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bestselling Special Education Supplies

Get ready for the school year with's best selling special education supplies. will donate a percentage of your purchase to Positively Autism!

This one looks particularly useful and fun!
Know the Code: Social Skills Card Game
Know the Code: Social Skills Card Game

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Product Review of SchKIDules

SchKIDules are personalized visual schedule systems designed to communicate a routine, sequence, activity or transition to a child.  SchKIDules are magnetic and come with a magnetic schedule board. A variety of customizable packages are available.

•Most pictures clearly depict the activities.
•A wide variety of pictures are available.
•The pictures are magnets, which makes them easy to take on and off, as well as place on a variety of surfaces (such as the schedule board or refrigerator).
•Easy to use.
•Pictures are colorful and fun. My son loves them!
•Increased my son’s compliance with activities we needed to do.
•It gives our summer days (when I’m home during the day with my son) more structure and increased the variety of activities we did in a day. There were pictures for arts and crafts, science, play-doh, and more that gave him ideas of things we could do instead of watch TV.

•It’s a little hard to keep track of all of the magnetic schedule pictures. I keep them in a container, but sometimes one gets misplaced and is difficult to find.
•There were some activities we did that there wasn’t a picture in the collection for, but the company does offer the option of creating your own digital photo magnets.

Overall, I would recommend this product to parents or teachers of young children or children who learn best with pictures. My son is three and he loves his schedule. He gets to choose some activities to put on it, along with the things we need to do like take a bath or go to the doctor. It has helped us with both transitions between activities and compliance. As with any product, it will not meet every child’s learning needs, but it is worth a look if you are considering the use of a visual schedule.


News video about SchKIDules:

Friday, July 8, 2011

Why Use Visual Schedules?

Information compiled by Nicole Caldwell, M.Ed.

Visual schedules have been used successfully for a variety of purposes.
•Preventing challenging behaviors before they happen (called an “antecedent intervention”).
•Reducing unpredictable transitions, frequently a cause of stress for individuals with autism.
•Increasing participation in learning activities.
•Promoting maintenance and generalization of skills.
Reference: O’Reilly, Sigafoos, Lancioni, Edrisinha, & Andrews, 2005

Visual schedules may meet the learning needs of individuals with autism.
•Individuals with autism may have difficulty with processing and understanding auditory input.
•Visual prompts may enhance communication with individuals with autism.
Reference: Bryan & Gast, 2000.

Visual schedules do more than help the student with autism.
•Schedules keep a classroom organized and provide all students with a sense of routine and structure.


Bryan, L. C. and Gast, D. L. (2000). Teaching on-task and on-schedule behaviors to high-functioning children with autism via picture activity schedules. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30(6).

O’Reilly, M., Sigafoos, J., Lancioni, G., Edrisinha, C., and Andrews, A. (2005). An examination of the effects of a classroom activity schedule on levels of self-injury and engagement for a child with severe autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 35(3).

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What is a Visual Schedule?

by Nicole Caldwell, M.Ed.

A visual schedule is a visual representation of tasks to be completed. A series of tasks, events, or activities can be presented in one or more of the following ways:


As many individuals with autism learn much better with visual than with auditory input, visual schedules may be considered an effective method for teaching and communicating with students with autism. A picture schedule may be used to communicate a series of events that must be completed (such as a math worksheet, reading a book, then outside play), a daily schedule (such as breakfast, school, homework, outside play, dinner, bath, and bed), a school schedule (math, literature, science, P.E.), a reinforcement contingency (first work, then play), etc.

You will see examples of these schedule types in this issue of Positively Autism. To get started, below is an example of part of a visual schedule I started using with my son when he was two-and-a-half years old. I searched Microsoft Word clip art for pictures representing activities that we needed to complete.

I have not included them for copyright reasons, but I also would include logos of specific stores that we needed to go to. When using the schedule, I would show him the pictures in the document on my computer screen. I would tell him, “Here are the things we need to do today.” Then I would explain each picture to him. This helped him transition between activities and increased his willingness to get in the car when we needed to go somewhere.

Example morning schedule (eat breakfast, take a bath, then read a book):

Friday, July 1, 2011

July Topic - Visual Schedules

PECS Daily Schedule Board (Picture Exchange Communication System)

Visual Schedules are one of my most frequently used tools for teaching students with Autism. This month, Positively Autism's focus will be articles, resources, and free printables related to visual schedules. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to see when I've added new resources! recommends...