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Visual Time Line


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Hi

 

Can I ask whether you have real photographs or your setting or use widgets for your visual timeline?

 

Can anyone suggest a theorist or piece of research discussing the advantages/disadvantages?

 

Thanks

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Are you a mainstream or special setting? The reason I'm asking is because I wonder whether your children will be using a visual schedule when they leave your class. My experience is mainly in special but some of my opinions probably will be valid in mainstream too.

 

I've not got any suggestions for research but in my opinion and experience widgets are better because they can stay the same throughout school. If you use photos they will only make sense whilst the child is in your classroom using your resources.

E.g. If you had a photo of the toilet in your classroom as they move up through the school they presumably won't be using the same toilet anymore so the photo would have to change. If you use widget a toilet symbol can mean any toilet. I've also found that the children seem to focus in on the word and begin to be able to read the word in other contexts. If there is a photo, that is more interesting to look at than the word so they might not even notice the word.

 

For any children who struggle with behaviour/ routine etc at home widget symbols can be sent home and they will understand them because they are the same as in school.

 

In my SEN school we tend to start with objects of reference, next photos, next widget symbols, then words. Not all children start at the start of this, it depends on understanding. In fact most children start with widget symbols and if they don't pick those up we then go backwards until they do understand. If you're in a mainstream setting I would have thought that most of the children will get used to widget symbols very quickly.

 

If you think about it, widget symbols are a very good preparation for reading because they teach children that a symbol (squiggle) can mean something, which quickly moves on to a word (squiggle!) meaning something.

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I visit a lot of settings and have found successes with both ways. I think missblinz makes really good points though in regard to sending them home, for continuity, and the symbols are better if you share children with other settings too.

 

But I have seen photos work well too, not all setting would have access to Widget or Boardmaker software, you can still write the words on them, and you would talk to the children about what they were for. Visual timetables are not just used for children with special needs, they can also support children new to English, and children who are taking time to settle, so they can what's coming next.

 

Im not aware of any research in this area, so I would probably base my judgement on what I was using them for.

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We use visual timetables throughout our mainstream infant school to support all children during the day.

 

We use pictorial timetables. There are many different ones available free online from the resource websites and others available for a small fee.

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Hi everybody

 

Many thanks for your interesting and informed responses which have helped my understanding a great deal.

 

We are a mainstream pre-school. I want to support children in settling in, plus those who have speech and language difficulties to communicate their needs and interests. I would say that children would generally not need to use a visual schedule after leaving our setting but this might not be the case for one little boy. Very early days yet, as we are working on helping him to settle at the moment. We seem to have had an influx of 2 year old boys with limited or unclear speech. We generally use objects to aid communication at the moment. We have some widgits but up to now I have felt reluctant to use them because some of them seem so difficult to understand, and obviously my feelings are influencing our practice though I now appreciate the advantages to widgits.

 

Would it be a good idea to combine photos and widgits? So have a photo of our outside area with the 'outside' widgit attached below.

 

Thanks

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Guest Spiral

I think that's a great idea. We always give mum/dad a copy so they can reinforce the routine at home and we have a number of copies around (on the doors, walls and by snack area). This ensures the ctaff can help the children to understand our routines and the time of day. We have used photos and cartoons as well as widgets - even had a Bob the Builder one once that had him inside/outside, eating lunch, drinking etc to help a child who was a little besotted with Bob.

 

Best of luck,

 

Spiral :o::1ax

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In Manchester we now have an agreed set of symbols that are used throughout all our schools (in theory!) to ensure continuity when the children move on. It might be worth finding out if there are a similar set wherever you are.

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