Sunday, August 24, 2014

How I Use Schedules and Social Stories as Aids.

Zion has always thrived on structure and schedules. As a result, we’ve always incorporated some sort of schedule, BUT, it was not always a visual one.  These days we have a visual schedule that he uses daily.

It has been noted that individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder/ASD have greater difficulties coping with unstructured time than neurotypical people and benefit from increased structure in their lives. I have found that to be true in Zion’s case. Having a visual schedule in place at home enables Zion to be in control because he knows what to expect. In addition, it fosters independence and calm. On a side note, I forgot to place IPad time on the schedule and he was quick to point that out! I recently had to get a poster that would fit all of our activities. The one shown only displays some of what we do on a daily basis.

Social Stories and Back to School
Photo Aug 24, 1 22 43 PM
I was first introduced to Social Stories by one of Zion’s teachers. A social story can be a written or visual guide describing various social interactions, behaviors, and situations. In Zion’s case, if he’s going to be introduced to a new situation, a social story is useful to help him anticipate and cope in that new situation. A great example is the simple and age specific one of the fire drill above. Fire drills can be overwhelming for Z because of his sensory issues so in addition to using headphones, having a visual and written social story reinforces what needs to be done and helps him to cope.

He starts Kindergarten this week and we are in the process of  putting the finishing touches on a social story that tells his new classroom number and teacher. He actually already knows his classroom number as I’ve been verbally preparing him. I cannot express in words how proud I am of him! I always get so emotional when I talk about all the remarkable things he has done.

Zion seems to be quite popular on the blog lately. However, I wanted you to get a peek at the behind the scenes at our home. I would love to hear from you. Are schedules a part of your routine? Maybe not social stories for everyone...Do tell. Have a lovely Sunday my friends. xx
Images by the lovely Tiffany Parsons


  1. Gorgeous friend,

    I am catching up on my blog pals due to not having internet service in my home! AHHHH! That is just not good in these times when it is so important that we connect!

    I am so happy to read about this. I believe that visuals for any age are strong tools to spark all strengths. I believe in Gardner's intelligences, and when there are multiple ways to communicate instruction, we all benefit! Being a world language teacher, visuals are of utmost importance.

    Zion is GORGEOUS. Look at those dimples, that smile! WOWOWOWOWO he is going to make a statement in the world!

    Have fun. This child is full of great promise and has probably taught you a lot, non? Big hugs, have a super start to school and be well dear friend. Anita

  2. I try to stay on a schedule as much as I can. I need to make a visual calendar for P. She understands the days of the week and the order but I think it would be great to have something at home with special dates on it.

    Thanks for sharing! Your boys are so cute!

  3. Fascinating, darling!
    You are such a good mom :)


  4. I can tell you being such an amazing mom Stacey!! Great to hear what is going on 'behind the scenes:)'!! Would love to hear more from your daily life. Always find it to be fascinating and inspiring to hear about others!!
    I do not have kids but still like to have a daily routine and a daily schedule for myself. My 2 darling cats also like to have it this way i´ve noticed:).
    Sending Lots of Love your way!

  5. If you step back & look at your story, and think about how you're sharing it on social media ... then you will realize that everyone benefits from visual story telling. Stories with photos are more popular on every platform, from Facebook to G+ and now Twitter, so absolutely ... you're building a new skill that will become more critical over time for you, and for your boys

  6. Great advice to young Mom's and look at that big smile you have raised a very happy child!

  7. What a sweet smile he has! This post is one to bookmark for sure - wonderful advice!

  8. My son Kit and I would be a wreck without his visual schedule. Initially his daily schedule had to be real photos of places and activities (I used a fantastic App called First Then by Good Karma that has a library of photos and also allows you to up load from your iPhone photos) but now I can just write it out and he understands. We also rely heavily on social stories -right now we working on why we have to wear clothes. Never a dull moment at my house! Thanks for posting about this. -Caitlin

  9. Your boys are so adorable! I love the picture of the 3 of you together. They are so lucky to have such an organized mom to keep them on schedule.

  10. Stacey, I think this is such a wonderful idea. When I was raising my kids, it was in a time (they are now 25 and 26) when the popular thought was, for example, they go to be when they get tired. They eat when they're hungry, and so on. I never understood, nor could subscribe to that. I always used a schedule with them. Somehow, I just feel it's important that kids no what to expect, and when to expect it. I also feel that there is very much a sense of security in that. Many would (and did) disagree with me, but for them, and for me, it worked.

    On another note, I cannot believe how much this sweet little guy has grown. It all happens too quickly, doesn't it???


  11. Great job, Stacey! What a lucky boy to have you as his supportive mother!! He will do wonderful in kindergarten. We try to follow routines at home here too. I think some type of structure is important with kids. They really thrive on it!


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