Many students with autism and other developmental disabilities have difficulty sequencing their own behavior during free-choice situations. Rather, they rely on adults to prompt them to engage in particular activities. Many do not interact appropriately with play materials or may select one activity and engage in it for an extended period of time. Photographic activity schedules have been shown to be an effective tool to teach children to sequence their own behavior and transition smoothly between multiple activities. Children learn to follow the visual cues in the activity schedule to make transitions instead of relying on adult-provided prompts. Activity schedules also provide a context for teaching basic and complex choice-making behavior. As children develop verbal behavior, social scripts also will be added then later faded to promote social interaction. Activity schedules have been used successfully in a variety of settings with both children and adults with various disabilities. They are easy to use and can be adapted to most environments. As children learn to follow activity schedules, the schedules themselves can be modified to more closely resemble those used by their typically developing peers (e.g., planners, daily calendars, to do lists, etc.).
Review Thomas Higbee’s biographical statement.