Does your child have difficulty following directions? Do they seem to forget daily routines, chores, or expectations? Do they appear to just not pay attention to instructions or to the details of a task? Or, do they forget steps to a task you have taught over and over again? Visual schedules and aids may be the answer! Visuals have a variety of benefits covering all of the difficulties mentioned as well as many more.
A visual schedule can be used for remembering routines, completion of tasks, and managing time more efficiently. Similar schedules are used in school classrooms to help students set a routine. You can utilize visuals at home in the same way. Visual aids can be used to help with getting ready in the morning, cleaning up, evening routines, bathing and other hygiene needs.
During task oriented activities and routines you can use visuals to remind your child of what needs to be completed. Then allow them to complete the individual tasks at random. By doing this you are allowing your child to feel more independent, increasing compliance. For example, when your child is getting ready in the morning they have set tasks to complete. Typically they need to get dressed, eat breakfast, brush their teeth, brush their hair, and make the bed.
While it would be ideal for them to eat breakfast, brush their teeth, then get dressed, the order doesn't truly matter. What matters is your child completing all necessary tasks without getting too distracted.
Over the course of time you will also be able to increase your child's time management skills. This occurs by setting time limits for each task. Using the previous example, each of those tasks can be completed in 5-10 minutes. Once an appropriate amount of time is assigned to each task, grab a timer and start time managing.
Time Management Skills
In the example, there are 5 tasks to be completed and 5 minutes assigned to each task. Your child will need roughly 25 minutes to get ready. If you wake your child up 35 minutes up before they are expected to be ready, you build in an extra 10 minutes to the schedule.
Teaching time management to your child isn’t the easiest task. Continuing the example, if your child is not finished with breakfast when the five-minute timer goes off, simply explain that it is time to move to the next task. Don’t worry though, this is where the extra 10 minutes comes in handy. Once they have finished all the other tasks they can come back and finish breakfast. By using this structure, you are teaching time maintenance/ management, consistency in your responses, and awareness of deadlines.
If these materials and strategies seem like something your child would benefit from or you would like to learn more, give us a call to schedule an appointment for a speech-language consultation of services! Available services are: comprehensive evaluation of speech and language functioning, treatment of speech and language deficits, consultation for educational services, and instructional use and provision of therapeutic tools for home use (visual aids).