How do we work with pictograms at home?
One of the first things you read about when you start your search for autism is pictobord! Because … people with autism need structure and want to know exactly what is coming! Right?
Getting an apple from the grocery every wednesday is very clear and exactly what someone with ASD wants? Eh no, not in my opinion (and experience)
People with autism, because their brain processes things differently, have more trouble getting their environment clear and well-arranged. Structure is a way to get that environment clear and well-arranged. But you first have to look carefully at where the lack of clarity is. When we first made a picto board, we thought it would be useful to make a weekly schedule and then indicate what is on the program per day with lots of pictograms. We worked it out and neatly hung up the right pictograms … but didn’t really think it helped. “Fortunately, our family counselor was there. One of the first questions she received during her first visit was: “how should we approach and work with a picto board?”
“Her two questions were” what do you think he can oversee “and” what clarity does he need “. Good questions, which we still use often when we want to provide clarity. Not only trying to be clear, but also ensuring that we answer his question about clear and meeting his needs. We started with 2 pictos:
*what are we doing now
*what are we going to do next.
It worked! And we sticked with it for a while, till we noticed noticed that he wanted to know more about what was going to happen that day. His question for clarity therefore changed. We adjusted our board and gave him a row of pictograms per day. Again, after a while he started asking ” what am I going to do tomorrow? “And” do I have to go to swimming lessons on Wednesday?
We then again adjusted the board to a weekly planner with max 4 pictograms per day, only the most important activities are put on the board. fWe consciously choose not to put up a row of 10 pictograms, including, for example, food – putting on a coat etc. because Wesse does not ask for this and we do not notice that he needs it. If we were to do this, it would actually provide more distraction instead of clarity.
So can a pictoboard help? Yes! Definately. But it is the customization that will do the trick. Most important question and startpoint is: what is my child asking for? Work from there and you will find the right way to work with a pictoboard.