Pre-Teaching for Schedule Change

  • Situation

    My student has a melt-down when there is a change from outdoor play/recess to indoor play. How can we make him understand the visual picture change to his schedule?

  • Summary

    Place indoor AND outdoor visual icons on the student’s schedule. Create opportunities to teach the student weather concepts associated with the icons. Place a visual “X” over the OUTDOOR visual when recess is inside to signify a change.

  • Definition

    Pre-teaching for schedule change is a procedure for teaching a child how to understand and discriminate visual changes to his/her schedule.

  • Quick Facts

    • Child's Age: 3-5, 6-10
    • Planning Effort: Low
    • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Pre-requisites

    Ability to learn picture or object representation

  • Process

    1. Always have both indoor and outdoor recess icons on the schedule. Place a large red “X” over the picture of the outdoor visual (or the visual not occurring that day).

    2. Create opportunities throughout the day BEFORE the play/recess time – to teach the student the difference in the pictures and relate to weather activities in group time. FOR EXAMPLE: say, “Look – what is the weather today? It is raining (pair the picture with the rain visual in the group). We play INSIDE (show picture).

    3. Provide verbal rehearsal opportunities throughout the day: Look at your schedule – It is raining outside. What is it doing? Where will be play today? (provide verbal model if needed)

    4. When it is time for the transition, have him check his schedule, and restate what is happening providing close proximity during the transition to ensure success.

  • Documents and Related Resources (link to website for examples)



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