Creating an At-Home Visual Schedule

I cannot believe it's the end of May already. I cannot believe that school will be over in just a few short weeks. (Especially with all the snow days our school district ended up with this year, it feels like my kid should be attending make-up days well into July.)

I've mentioned before that my son really excelled this year, socially and academically, but we still notice a tendency to "give back" some of his gains as soon as he goes a few days without school or therapy. (And in his case, school IS therapy, as he only attended programs designed for special-needs kids.) So I'm really trying to be proactive about making sure that we carry over as much stuff from school as possible during the summer.

And I think I need some help, if you guys don't mind.


Noah will be attending a half-day camp for seven weeks this summer where he'll continue to get speech and occupational therapy with many of the same teachers and students he already knows. But this still leaves several long weeks of nothingness, save for playdates and maybe some out-patient therapy -- a far cry from the full day of structure and sensory activities he gets now.

I've dusted off my copy of The Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun and have marked off a few obstacle courses we'll make and sensory centers to build and fine motor activities to try. But I've realized one thing Noah has really benefited from (and gotten pretty dependent on) is his visual schedule.

Both of his programs use one and personalize it for him every day. His photo and name appear at the top and helpful squares of laminated clip-art are velcroed in the correct order to let Noah see exactly what he'll be doing that day. They are hugely helpful (HUGELY) in keeping his transition-related tantrums and anxiety under control, especially when we're talking about those pesky "non-preferred activities."

So I want to make one for him at home, to help give him the sense that his routine and day-to-day structure aren't going out the window. I've gone online and tried to figure out the best way to make one at home, and which non-school activities I should include on it (with limited luck -- most of the examples I could find were geared for teachers and the classroom, and others are just way, WAY too detailed). I've thought about buying one ready-made and I've stood befuddled in the arts-and-crafts aisles at a couple stores trying to figure out how to make one from scratch.

Because I kind of want to make one that's ... cute. One that I wouldn't mind being hung in a place of honor in our kitchen or some other visible and convenient spot.

I think Noah would also like it if I created schedules for everybody -- his brother, his dad, and I -- so he could see when Daddy will be coming home or when he and Mommy will get to do a special art project and so on and so forth. He really likes "managing" his classmates' schedules as well, so that's why I'm thinking family schedules would be kind of fun.

I should also mention that I have all the innate crafty DIY talent of your average garden slug.

So I'm wondering -- has anyone created an at-home visual schedule for their child or children? Would you mind ... sharing how you did it? Maybe some photos or link to a how-to post somewhere that I could see and blatantly copy from? Or just details on what day-to-day activities you included? Or whether or not you've even found an at-home schedule useful or helpful at all? 


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