Picture Planner is a web service and mobile app designed to introduce basic scheduling techniques to children who have learning disabilities, and may be especially helpful for children affected by autism spectrum disorders. Picture Planner allows users to create daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly schedules that heavily rely on images. While brief notes are usually incorporated into each entry, pictures serve as the primary reminders. Users pick an image from the app’s vast archive, or choose to import their own photos for a sense of personalization. There is a free trial available for Windows and Mac users, while use of the mobile app and unlimited version of the PC-based service is sold for $199. Because the service employs a myriad of commands and functions, it is best that parents help set up the app, with its use recommended for children ages 8 and older.
In order to get the most out of Picture Planner, try some of the ideas below, or submit your own in the comment box at the bottom of the page.
With your child, craft a schedule featuring recurring events for the next month. However, instead of entering them each day for 30 days, you and your child will only have to input the information a single time. Once you save your event the app will prompt you to repeat the activity. Check the box and select how many weeks you want to loop the event, choosing the specific day and time. Once entered, the activity will appear in your child's calendar for the next 4 weeks (or more). A schedule of classes would be a good repeated event, as the app event lets users to specify the day(s) on which the activity reoccurs. Your child will often have different classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday than he does on Tuesday and Thursday. Remember to encourage your child to be specific in the "additional information" tab regarding the materials he needs. Especially for children who often forget their homework or their things for class, Picture Planner is a perfect planning app, with a pinpoint reminder system.
After carefully watching your child complete his homework assignments for a couple of weeks, make notes of how long each activity took or should have taken. While eliminating all distractions is difficult, determine a relative duration for the average homework day for each subject where your child is at about 80 percent productivity. Once you have a general time frame for the length of particular homework subjects, begin to create events using Picture Planner for each subject. For example, maybe math worksheets take him 20 minutes, while reading assignments take closer to 40. Input each subject into his calendar each night with a corresponding image. Then determine a time frame that gives your child a fair amount of time to do his work - without rushing. Time constraints often increase productivity, as your child will recognize he can not longer procrastinate his work when he is on a strict schedule.
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