Monday, April 15, 2013

Visuals to Promote Independence

This week I asked one of my students to do me a favor and run some papers up to my coworkers classroom.   His response.... "I can't!"  Many of my students have increased their independence in the classroom (i.e. they no longer have to get my approval before and after completing every task), however, independence outside of the classroom is still an issue.  And, if it is an issue at school, I'm thinking it is probably an issue at home and in the community!  If possible, I think it is important to teach my students to be independent throughout the entire school.  They should be able to transition between classes on their own, run errands in the building, ask other teachers questions, and deliver a message.  These are important skills that come pretty naturally to other same-aged peers, so why not expect them of our students as well.  These are skills that can help our students in the work place later in life.  It also aids in generalization of skills and increases opportunities to use communication skills with less familiar people. I went to a training a few years ago that had a great visual to use when encouraging students to be independent in the school.  

The top part says "Go to" and shows the man walking.  In this place, I write where the student should be going in the school.  

This is like a little laminated booklet, so when you open it (the velcro is used to keep it closed), you seen sections for what they student should "do" and/or "say." I sometimes draw pictures to help my students understand what I am saying as well (please disregard my lack of art skills..haha!).

I have used this in the past for my very visual students when I am asking a new task of them.  I have also used it in the past for students who are hard to understand verbally.  That way, they can show it to the person they are talking to in case the adult doesn't understand what the student wants. For my current group of students, who get extremely anxious about leaving the classroom on their own, I think this visual will be useful in easing some anxiety by showing them exactly what is expected of them.


  1. I really love this visual reminder! I have a student in eight grade who is able to run errands but I hear from staff members that he walks into the room and does not verbalized his mission until given many prompts. This is he type of support he needs!


  2. I love this--I particularly like the organization of the visuals in the flip book. What a great idea!

    Autism Classroom News

  3. That's really helpful! I'm seeing the same thing with my kids right now. It's funny because they are comfortable going to certain places alone, but not others. One little guy (who is very scripted in his actions) loves going to the office and asking for a new box of tissues for our class, but then today he was thrown off when I asked him to walk to speech alone and wanted me to go with him when it's right up the stairs no more than 10 feet away! I think I need to make a few "errands" for my kids to practice these things.

    The Lower Elementary Cottage