Planners are a tool to help a Complex Child understand what to expect from his day. They end a lot of confusion which sometimes results in behavior or agitation.
This concept is not original to me. It is used by many specialists trying to aide in communication for disabled children of many types. The Autism Specialist through the School District created one for my complex child, Billy Ray, which he did not respond well to. This planner was primarily Boardmaker Software symbols and stick figures.
As I tried to use this idea to create at home schedules and social stories, I grew frustrated with the inability to get certain symbols I needed for his activities. A friend loaned me a digital camera to supplement the symbols.
We quickly noticed that Billy Ray responds much more to digital picture symbols than to stick figure types. I began making all of his symbols and social stories using digital pictures. Billy Ray identifies the activity as something he has done before when presented with a symbol of his doing the activity. New items are not as stressful because he can recognize the surroundings from the symbol when he arrives.
I also modified the form of notebook. Billy Ray had previously liked to carry one of my old Planner cases he thought looked like a briefcase. Instead of the short of bland cover the Autism Specialist provided I got him a Daytimer notebook type "briefcase". He enjoys that so is more comfortable carrying it around and using it.
In my upcoming book, I will tell you how to make your own planners. I am also available create planners for your child. This can be done three ways: 1) I can come to your home and take the pictures, 2) the consultant working with your child can take the pictures and provide them to me for preparing the planner or 3) you can take the pictures and I can create the planner.