As I was typing up an IEP the feedback from the general education teacher was “I don’t think he needs a schedule, but he does need to learn how to keep a planner.”
A planner is a type of schedule, Karen.
There are all kinds of visual schedules. There are visual schedules that use objects (reading is denoted by an actual book, snacks are scheduled with a spoon); there are visual schedules that use pictures (pictures of favorite snacks, a picture of the math teacher); there are visual schedules that use common PECS symbols; and there are visual schedules that use words (also known as written schedules).
A lot of teachers I talk to argue flexibility and tell me the world doesn’t run on a perfectly scheduled day – only it kind of does. Train schedules, plane schedules, class schedules, work schedules, sports schedules, practice schedules, television schedules, movie schedules – the point is there are a lot of schedules for even neurotypical people to navigate in life.
Do things change? Absolutely. Planes get delayed, people cancel plans, project deadlines get pushed forward or back. That’s just life. But when things change, you change your schedule, you clear that block of time, you don’t throw the whole planner out.
Schedules can organize your classroom, teach executive functioning skills and (dare I say it) flexibility. When students know what to expect their whole day goes better – just as yours does when you have advanced notice of meetings.