Sunday, June 28, 2009


When I first read about workboxes I dismissed them with very little research as I didn't think we could implement the system as we are low on space. It wasn't until a friend Michelle, blogged about workboxes that I took another look. Rather than using 10 or more boxes or draws per child, she was using plastic sleeves. Michelle was sure that the workbox system would be particularly suited to our family as the lady who came up with the idea designed it with her autistic child in mind.

After talking with Michelle and seeing her system close up, I decided to invest in some plastic sleeves and warm up the laminator! It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I'm confident that Michelle won't mind that I have an almost carbon copy of her system!

We have been using our workboxes for a week and we all love them. It is similar to my previous visual system, but so much better, especially for me! I no longer have to scramble around for materials in the morning as everything is set up and ready to go. All I have to do is ask the children to take their boxes off the piano and get started.

The boys simply start with folder number one. When they have finished they remove the velcro number in the bottom right of the folder and place it on their laminated strip if paper which holds numbers 1-10.

They then place the completed folder in a plastic basket.

Both the ordered routine and the visual aspect of this system is a perfect fit for Koala.

The system has also enabled me to put a little more creativity and fun into our days. In the past we would complete the basics and that would be it. Now we are using our Rosetta Stone French programme more often, we are lapbooking and using our educational CDs and including things like cooking and playing with the dog in our workboxes. I have also decided to take some time on the week end to plan what each days boxes will contain. This greatly frees up my evenings.

I'm sure we'll be using this system for a long time to come.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


This week I finally got around to making a visual schedule for Koala.

People with an ASD are visual learners. They also feel more comfortable with a routine which they can rely on. Koala has never been one to completely fall apart if his routine changes, but he does like to have a certain structure. We have been using a tick box systems where he ticks off each subject as he finishes it, but I knew that a visual one would be preferable.
So I began by photographing all the books we use.

I then had them printed four to a page. I laminated them and cut them out. At the beginning of the day all the visuals are placed on a green for go, laminated strip of paper with a velcro strip.

The above is our schedule for Friday which includes our catechism, Faith and Life 4, which we simply read and discuss. A page from Maths-U-See Beta. Growing With Grammar, Seton Handwriting 3 for Young Catholics, Aplogia Exploring Creation with Astronomy which Koala just loves! The final visual shows a combination of our history read-alouds. History isn't meant to be on our list for Friday, but we missed it yesterday, so we mght get to it today. We're fairly flexible.

When each activity is completed, Koala moves the visual to the red laminated paper.

We've had a few teething problems in the last 3 days. Koala became rather upset when I wanted him to complete a subject that wasn't next in line! I should have known better! So now I have to make sure that where possible I ask him to complete the subjects in the order I've placed them! We will work on varying the order, as adaptability is an important skill to learn.

Visuals are not exclusively for kids on the spectrum. All kids respond to them. So naturally Bilby has requested his own visual schedule.

Those of you who read my unschool post may be wondering what happened! I'm still working toward a more natural approach to our day, but I think it will take time for me to break my addiction to structure and formal programmes! I have dramatically cut back on the formal side of our day which has been a wonderful blessing.

I know our new visual sehedule will make Koala's day run much more smoothly, which in turn helps everyone in the family.