One of the most important and significant changes that have occurred in the last twenty years in the educational environment of children with autism has been to consider the functionality and importance of tasks as central. That is, they can understand the purpose of carrying out a series of chained tasks (means) to achieve a final product (goal).
With thepreparation of agendas the aim is to achieve a long-term objective: that people are able to plan their own activities based on their preferences and needs.
We tell you what they are and how they are usedagendas in children with autism.
Agendas are worked on every day at school and it is usually the first activity after having a little greeting conversation. With children who do not use oral language and use the non verbal, each of thepictograms and is labeled with gestures; those children who have oral language are asked to read the representation to check their understanding and to help them when they do not understand it.
They are tools that use images ofdaily activities and often the simple summary of relevant events of the day. They facilitate the anticipation and understanding of situations, even for children with low cognitive level autism and with whom visual sequences such as time organization keys. Agendas have very positive effects because they give peace of mind andreduce anxiety of children with autism, enhance their motivation for learning and help to order their world.
Theanticipation problems suffered by children with autism constitute one of the most important difficulties when it comes to understanding and intervening in disconcerting behaviors, the feeling of disconnection and in states of anxiety, nervousness and behavior problems. Situations of this type, together with an important communication problem, constitute the central nucleus of the explanation of thebehavior problems that some people with autism present, especially when they are small or are very cognitively affected.
Hence the importance of developing tools thathelp anticipate the future, Verbal warning of upcoming events is not helpful for most children with autism.
This is achieved through the representation of reality throughphotographs or pictograms, using visual cues that place the children in time and space and anticipate what is going to happen and that they respond to what am I going to do?
The basic idea is to represent on a sheet of paperschematic drawings that correspond to each of the activities and events that occur on the day or in a period of the same (morning, afternoon). This system allows the child to be taught to understand the differentbullets with very varied contents, in such a way that when plans change, as happens on special dates, it does not pose problems either for the teacher, who prepares the agenda on the spot and introduces last minute changes if necessary, or for the child with autism that easily interpretsnew pictograms and associates them without difficulty with the activities that are being carried out.
Throughout the day, the agenda is consulted whenchange activity. If at any time there is no time to carry out an activity or it is necessary to change plans, the pictogram is crossed out and the new activity can be entered between two bullets. At the end of the day or at the end of what was planned in an agenda, it is read again trying to relate the review with communicative situations, such as telling the family what has been done.
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