Sunday, October 17, 2010

Now, Next & Finished Boards

Did you read my post on calendar systems? If you didn't get a chance, that's okay---I have included the link in this post. For this post, I included pictures of a 'now, next & finished board' communication system. I created this set for a child who is on the autism spectrum & is congenitally blind (ASDVI).

This is the first thing I want you to think about: how does my child understand time concepts? Do they understand the concept of 'now'? Time concepts can be difficult to teach and learn. Many educators use a 'finished/all done box system. (I will post more about finished boxes in another post). Finished boxes are great except they only have one problem: they only teach the concept of 'finished'. You also need to teach about now and next to make it a sequence.

Here's what I want you to read: "Let Me Check My Calendar" by Robbie Blaha

Sometimes using a complete calendar system is too much for a child. That is where now & next systems come in to play. They teach the foundation to learning how to use a full calendar system. Here is an example of how to make a now & next system.
The Now & Next boards:

I put a different texture over the finished board to help my student distinguish it
from the now & next boards.
There is a Braille label over the words 'now' & 'finished'.
(Font issues are not a factor for this student because she is not a print reader. I just wanted it to look cute. If font size and type was an issue, I would have chosen an easy to read font like Arial)

I used Velcro (or hook & loop) for attaching items.
I used a wide strip on the actual board to make it easier to mount item.

Objects for Now & Next boards:

-Foam board (can be purchased from an art supply store or JoAnn Fabrics)
-hot glue gun
-Fabric (for finished board)
-Velcro (or hook & loop)
-paper & Braille labels
(I also used a sturdy board to mount some of the objects to)
(keep in mind: symbols should be an actual representation or part of something from the actual activity. For example, the toothbrush represents toothbrushing. I found an item that looks like a tray to represent table work since the student uses a tray when working at the table.)
-I always get two or more of each symbol in as a backup.

A few tips about using now & next boards or calendar box systems:
-They are meant to be used to before and after an activity to reinforce time concepts or to pre-teach an activity.
-It is important to use consistent language and to use them consistently throughout the day.
-Give wait time for children to process. Encourge them to initiate activity. Follow their lead.
-Calendar box systems/now & next boards should be used naturally as part of activities. Write yourself cheat sheet notes to help you with language and what to do.
-Consult with your TVI for tips and strategies.
-Encourage your classroom teachers to use calendar box systems/now & next boards throughout the day at school.

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