Pictoral Timetable

2 Dec

One of the concepts that Megan has difficulty with is communication. She doesn’t speak much at all and most of what she does say is echolalic. This obviously presents quite a lot of difficulties when attempting to engage with Megan both at (to a lesser extent) home and more particularly at school.

Megan has been attending her local primary mainstream school now for nearly a full term and yesterday Naomi and I went for a meeting with her SaLT, the SENCO and her case worker from the Autism Outreach Team. The purpose of this meeting was to get Megan onto the next stage. At the moment the school still consider her to be in a ‘honeymoon’ period where she’s given a lot of space to aclimatise to her new environment – a nursery/pre-school is a very loud, bright and well-lit environment and Megan in common with a lot of autistic people doesn’t always cope with these things very well as autistic people are not able to process sensory input in the same way as those of us who aren’t autistic. To them, certain sounds and colours actually physically hurt.

Anyway, its obvious she’s fairly well settled and is confident in her environment so we all needed to meet up to think of how we move Megan into a more traditional scholastic environment e.g. she starts to be told there are things that must be done at certain times of the school day.

How to approach this is tricky. As Megan doesn’t speak, talking to her doesn’t always yield good results and time for someone with damaged sensory equipment is a very difficult concept to grasp. Saying ‘in 5 mins its time for a drink’ to Megan means nothing. However, if we say ‘it’ll be time for a drink when we’ve read all the words on the last page of this book’ then its an easier comparison to grasp. This is nothing to do with intellegence and all to do with perceptual ability.

So what the school are going to do is start a pictoral timetable. Basically, the AOT worker and Megans speech therapist have been around taking photos of all the different things in the classroom – the toys, the wendy-house, the class register, one of the toilets etc. These will be used to demonstrate to Megan what the next thing will be. This will give her time to prepare for the change. Its a great idea and is a sort of ‘cut down’ version of PECS which is a more comprehensive pictoral communication system. Why aren’t we just using PECS? Megan’s SaLT doesn’t think Megan needs that. There’s no doubt she knows the words, she just doesn’t know how to use them as communication tools – this system will help with that and Naomi and I will be backing its use up by implementing a similar scheme at home.

2 Responses to “Pictoral Timetable”

  1. michael a December 20, 2004 at 17:49 #

    I am not sure if would help, but I worked on a Web site for a new non-profit, called rhe Autism Education Network.

    Site is located:

    “The Autism Education Network’s mission is to improve public special education programs and to influence public policy that affects individuals with autism. We use new technology and the Internet to connect and empower people in order to affect change.

    We provide free information about special education rights and programs and our outreach efforts include seminars about special education law and conferences regarding best practices in autism treatment and methodologies.”

  2. Kev December 21, 2004 at 19:51 #

    Great resource Michael, I’ll have a good read through later but for now I’ve added it to the side navigation of this site.

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