My young man has become very dependant on his schedules. Where he goes and when is very important for him to know up front. Every trip is planned out on his picture schedule, the number of pictures dependant on the number of steps to get to the final destination. Preparation to leave the house is to become another picture schedule since he now believes if you have your jacket and shoes (on or just carrying them) you are ready to go, regardless if you have any other piece of clothing on.
At school after I leave he is a different kid, closer to the one he was at home half a year ago. He barely speaks and does not express his wants. It was baffling at first to find out that the speech therapist at school had a goal for him to make 2-3 word utterances, while his out of school speech therapist is working on getting him to answer questions. It is a different world for him at school with overly busy walls, and children that he has no interest in.
I prepare the picture schedule with the PECS appropriate for each step;
Car, when we get in the car with seat belt on he removes the card, places it on the backside of the board and I prompt him to tell me where we are going next.
School, When we're parked I come to his door and he removes the card.
Office, We must sign in at the office every morning, this is the step that has caused the most trouble because at first he didn't want to go in, and then his bravery got the better of him and he decided to explore. This was fixed however with a "Don't get yourself in trouble, Connor." Yeah I couldn't believe that stopped him either.
Connor's class room, this is the last picture on the schedule. I had first tried to include a picture of a person waving "good-bye". I thought this would let him know that I was going to say "Good-bye". This backfired, upon seeing the goodbye card he grabbed his things and headed to the door.
The other obstacles in our way of completing the Office to Connor's classroom step is the occasional teacher and or therapist in the hall. To Connor this makes no sense what so ever. They are to be in the classroom, they do not exist anywhere else. The first sighting out of the classroom caused a meltdown in the hallway leaving me wondering how in the world I was going to get around this. Connor fixed it himself, now when he sees them in the hall or out the classroom he averts his eyes and does not respond to them. Yes, I'll have to come back to this one and remedy it.
The teachers and aides have always asked what they could do to help and have been most helpful, even adding the picture schedule to his IEP. However follow through has been hit or miss, causing them to have to deal with a meltdown in the hallway. They had left the classroom to go to the library, Connor is used to the idea that if the class leaves the room they go to the gym, lunch, or home. Not being shown a picture of the unexpected library before hand left him unprepared.
When talking to the aide and asking about using the pictures she told me he hadn't needed it as much since he got used to the normal routine. I was glad her boss was behind her listening to the conversation. The aide is the sweetest lady but she needs to be pointed back into the right direction occasionally, as do we all.