TIPS FOR USING A VISUAL SCHEDULE
• Use PECS pictures, or actual pictures of the pool, the equipment, and the swimmer’s schedule for the session.
• Allow your swimmer plenty of opportunities for sensory breaks or the “choice” card.
• For the anxious swimmer, try allowing the swimmer to pick 3 and you pick 3. Allow the swimmer to choose which order they go in. You can then discuss which of the items on the board make the swimmer feel nervous. “Show me which pictures make you feel nervous”. Remain firm that the swimmer must try the activity, but remain flexible and reassure the swimmer that you will help them with the activity that they are nervous about.
• For a non-verbal swimmer, the visual schedule can be helpful when they are trying to communicate what they want. Show them the schedule and say “show me”. Prompt your swimmer to point at what they want for the next activity.
• Do not allow the schedule to detract from the lesson. Some swimmers may not benefit from the schedule if they are too rigid in their ritual and routines. Work flexibility into your lesson by adding “unscheduled” sensory breaks or choices within each activity.
At Swim Angelfish, we have a visual schedule at each pool as part of our standard equipment. (if you’d like to see what other equipment we use, click here). We wanted to offer other aquatic professionals and parents the ability to make their own visual schedules to use at the pool as well.