Autism - Support Across the Spectrum

lady_katie
Picture board advice? - Updated
December 31, 2012 at 9:00 AM

We're trying a picture board for my son who is a year and a half. We're also working on sign language, which isn't going too well. 

What I did, being that he's so young, is I took pictures of the basic things that he needs and wants; milk cup, water/juice cup, diaper, food, snack, books & toys and I laminated them, stuck magnets to the back and put them up on a magnetic white board that he can reach. I don't think that he would be able to translate any generic pictures into what they mean for him (ie: a milk jug = a drink of milk), so I kept it very specific to him. 

I don't exactly expect him to catch on to this concept. I'm mostly expecting to find these things in the heating vents and garbage, but I'm going to try it anyway. 

So this morning, I introduced him to the board and he started exploring it. He loves it. Immediately after it was time for a poopy diaper change, so I handed him the picture of the diaper and said "diaper" a bunch of times and patted his bottom. This just resulted in a huge melt down because he wanted to continue playing with the picture board instead of getting a diaper change. I don't even know if he knows when he needs a diaper. 

Anyway...is there a better way that I should be approaching this? Does anyone have any advice? 

Thanks!

Replies

  • JTMOM422
    December 31, 2012 at 10:24 AM

    The way you are doing it is how our therapists approach it. I don't think you should worry yet about his reaction give it a couple of weeks for him to learn it sounds like you have a grasp on the idea to me

  • lady_katie
    December 31, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    Thanks, that's good to know. After a few hours of exposure to it, my son did take the "milk cup" picture off with his right hand and sign for milk with his left. I just about fell over when I saw that! I'm hoping that maybe that's a sign that we're on to something here. Maybe he really needs something like this to start to make sense of the signs, something more visual and tangible. 

    Quoting JTMOM422:

    The way you are doing it is how our therapists approach it. I don't think you should worry yet about his reaction give it a couple of weeks for him to learn it sounds like you have a grasp on the idea to me


  • JTMOM422
    December 31, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    Our children are visual learners from what I have been told. We also you stop clocks for transitioning purposes. This helps because he has learned when the timer goes off its time to change what we are doing

  • VioletsMomTown
    December 31, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    My daughter has gotten really good with this. I draw the pictures myself for it, she is better than I would have thought with figuring out what a cartoon of something is. One way is to put a picture on the item, like a picture of the diaper next to where he gets changed, and then have the one on the board too, and when you take the card off the board, let him carry it to the change table. Or put a picture of juice on the actual juice jug, so that when he picks the juice card, you take out the jug together and match up the cards. Always say what it is when he picks a card, simplify it, like just say "Juice" or "diaper". If he is not initiating going for the cards himself, then model the behavior between mom and dad. If mom wants juice, then go take the card and give it to dad, say juice, and let your son see what you're doing. Make sure there are things he likes to eat or do on the cards, they will not often chose to eat broccoli or take a bath necessarily. Eventually you can add those things in, and then say, first broccoli, then chips, for example.(then its called a "first, then" board)

    Make every choice meaningful, like if he chose a picture of swings, and its 9 oclock at night, well, you have to go to the swings. Its setting up trust, and making these words meanigful, so he knows if he asks then he will get it. If there is a card that you absolutely can't do at that time, then hide the card before he has a chance to ask for it. I went to the park in the dark a few times!

    When my daughter is upset, I say "show me the card", always say it in the same way. Now when she hands me the card I say "what's this" and she will say "drink" or "tv" or "ipad". Its amazing how using a picture card helps bring out language. She uses the exact same cards at school now too, and its really helped stop the meltdowns. They keep some in their pockets so that they can show her a visual of what they are doing next.  She finally feels like she can communicate her needs. Its great.

    Good luck!!



  • lady_katie
    January 2, 2013 at 8:33 AM

    Thank you!! This is great advice, I can't believe I didn't think to print out matching cards for the corresponding items. I've been doing what you say and hiding the card's that he can't do at the time. 

    He seem's to have caught on to the "milk" card a bit, because he loves milk (almond milk). At least to the point where he takes it off and waves it around and tries to stick it to other surfaces in front of me. I'm not really sure how to get him to actually hand me the card's though. Especially the cards that aren't the milk card. For example, this morning, he took the "books" card off, and walked straight into his playroom with it and dropped it upside down on the floor and forgot about it. I had seen it out of the corner of my eye in his hand, so I picked it up, put it back in his hand and made him hand it to me. Then we read a book with the card in sight. Is this the best thing to do to help him to understand that he's supposed to hand the cards to me? 

    Thanks again! 

    Quoting VioletsMomTown:

    My daughter has gotten really good with this. I draw the pictures myself for it, she is better than I would have thought with figuring out what a cartoon of something is. One way is to put a picture on the item, like a picture of the diaper next to where he gets changed, and then have the one on the board too, and when you take the card off the board, let him carry it to the change table. Or put a picture of juice on the actual juice jug, so that when he picks the juice card, you take out the jug together and match up the cards. Always say what it is when he picks a card, simplify it, like just say "Juice" or "diaper". If he is not initiating going for the cards himself, then model the behavior between mom and dad. If mom wants juice, then go take the card and give it to dad, say juice, and let your son see what you're doing. Make sure there are things he likes to eat or do on the cards, they will not often chose to eat broccoli or take a bath necessarily. Eventually you can add those things in, and then say, first broccoli, then chips, for example.(then its called a "first, then" board)

    Make every choice meaningful, like if he chose a picture of swings, and its 9 oclock at night, well, you have to go to the swings. Its setting up trust, and making these words meanigful, so he knows if he asks then he will get it. If there is a card that you absolutely can't do at that time, then hide the card before he has a chance to ask for it. I went to the park in the dark a few times!

    When my daughter is upset, I say "show me the card", always say it in the same way. Now when she hands me the card I say "what's this" and she will say "drink" or "tv" or "ipad". Its amazing how using a picture card helps bring out language. She uses the exact same cards at school now too, and its really helped stop the meltdowns. They keep some in their pockets so that they can show her a visual of what they are doing next.  She finally feels like she can communicate her needs. Its great.

    Good luck!!




  • VioletsMomTown
    January 2, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    Well, all I can say is keep practicing, it does take time to catch on. I always say the exact same phrase when Violet takes a card (I can hear them pull off because they have velcro on the back) but I say "show me the card" and if she drops it or doesn't show me directly, then she won't get it until she "shows me the card"

    We have spent an entire day searching for the tv card before, as she took it and hid it under her covers of her bed. haha no tv that day! She learned not to hide them!

    He will get it, as long as you stick with it.

    Quoting lady_katie:

    Thank you!! This is great advice, I can't believe I didn't think to print out matching cards for the corresponding items. I've been doing what you say and hiding the card's that he can't do at the time. 

    He seem's to have caught on to the "milk" card a bit, because he loves milk (almond milk). At least to the point where he takes it off and waves it around and tries to stick it to other surfaces in front of me. I'm not really sure how to get him to actually hand me the card's though. Especially the cards that aren't the milk card. For example, this morning, he took the "books" card off, and walked straight into his playroom with it and dropped it upside down on the floor and forgot about it. I had seen it out of the corner of my eye in his hand, so I picked it up, put it back in his hand and made him hand it to me. Then we read a book with the card in sight. Is this the best thing to do to help him to understand that he's supposed to hand the cards to me? 

    Thanks again! 

    Quoting VioletsMomTown:

    My daughter has gotten really good with this. I draw the pictures myself for it, she is better than I would have thought with figuring out what a cartoon of something is. One way is to put a picture on the item, like a picture of the diaper next to where he gets changed, and then have the one on the board too, and when you take the card off the board, let him carry it to the change table. Or put a picture of juice on the actual juice jug, so that when he picks the juice card, you take out the jug together and match up the cards. Always say what it is when he picks a card, simplify it, like just say "Juice" or "diaper". If he is not initiating going for the cards himself, then model the behavior between mom and dad. If mom wants juice, then go take the card and give it to dad, say juice, and let your son see what you're doing. Make sure there are things he likes to eat or do on the cards, they will not often chose to eat broccoli or take a bath necessarily. Eventually you can add those things in, and then say, first broccoli, then chips, for example.(then its called a "first, then" board)

    Make every choice meaningful, like if he chose a picture of swings, and its 9 oclock at night, well, you have to go to the swings. Its setting up trust, and making these words meanigful, so he knows if he asks then he will get it. If there is a card that you absolutely can't do at that time, then hide the card before he has a chance to ask for it. I went to the park in the dark a few times!

    When my daughter is upset, I say "show me the card", always say it in the same way. Now when she hands me the card I say "what's this" and she will say "drink" or "tv" or "ipad". Its amazing how using a picture card helps bring out language. She uses the exact same cards at school now too, and its really helped stop the meltdowns. They keep some in their pockets so that they can show her a visual of what they are doing next.  She finally feels like she can communicate her needs. Its great.

    Good luck!!





  • lady_katie
    January 23, 2013 at 9:06 AM

    UPDATE - So, it's been a few weeks since we've introduced the board, and it's going GREAT! This was absolutely what my son needed to start comprehending communication. He's handing me the cards about 80% of the time already, and he's thrown a couple at me over the baby gate too. 

    Before the board, he had literally never communicated a request. I became very keen on interpreting his behavior to figure out what he wants, but he wasn't communicating 'on purpose'. I didn't even know if he knew when he needed a diaper because he gave no indication that he noticed what so ever. He would sit in it for hours if I let him. But then one day he handed me the diaper card when he had a poopy (even though he hates diaper changes) and I was able to get a glimpse into his thinking. 

    I also learned that he loves books through the board. He loves to choose books and milk, and just sit in my lap drinking his cup of milk while I read to him. I literally had no idea if he had a thought in his head before. I assumed that he did, but I had no way of knowing. 

    Now, whenever he starts whining, I say "go to your board" and a lot of the time he will, like a light bulb goes on in his head and he thinks "oh yeah! I forgot that I can do that now!!". His receptive communication is not very good, so the fact that he's understanding what I'm saying to him shows that he's motivated. 

    I'm excited to start adding more cards, once he has mastered the basics. I've been training him to use a touch screen on my kindle fire (with very basic baby games) and he's catching on well (again, he's motivated because he loves that device). I'm hopeful that I'll be able to swtich over to something like that because it's easier for me to add choices, and it's portable. 

Autism - Support Across the Spectrum