Here is another visual aide that I have used frequently during therapy sessions. It’s a “first….then” chart that shows a child what he/she must do first to earn a desired activity. It has worked well with my 3-5 year olds because they can clearly see what they have to do to earn their choice of activity. I made it using a file folder. Here is what the front looks like:
I put the number 1 and 2 to show “first” and “then” because many of my kids start to recognize numbers during their time at our preschool. Under the number 1, I put a picture of the activity I choose. In this case, it’s verb pictures. Then an arrow. Under the number 2, the child gets to put a picture of their desired activity. I made the folder by gluing on the numbers, arrow, and boxes for the pictures. Then I laminated the folder and put velcro dots on the boxes for the pictures. Here is what I put on the back of the folder:
I put more velcro dots on the back of the folder and then put the pictures that I wanted to offer the student for his/her choice. So, I would show the child the choices on the back of the folder and then he/she would pick one and put it under the number 2 on the front of the folder. I didn’t want to give the child his/her choice of all the available pictures because some kids have trouble making a choice when there are too many options. Also, sometimes I want to only give the child a choice between pretend play activities or sometimes only games that are finished quickly. On the inside of the folder, I put strips of velcro so that I can store all the pictures.
It’s an inexpensive way to make a “first, then” chart or visual schedule for only 2 tasks. I have sometimes used the folder multiple times during one session. For example, we did my activity and then the child’s choice then I took off the pictures and we started over. It has worked well with some of my autistic kids that need to see small steps that are more manageable for them. Sometimes, seeing a visual schedule with 4 different activities is kind of overwhelming, so we take it 1 set of activities at a time. I also like that this folder is very portable and all the pictures are stored inside. It makes it easy to take to student’s classrooms or daycares.