Picture Pages for a Happy Car Trip

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picture page groceryCar trips are sometimes stressful for a child with autism.  In addition to marking and reinforcing good car behaviors (Quiet Mouth, Feet Still, Hands Still), another thing that helped my son was picture pages relating to either the destination or something of interest to him. He enjoyed picture pages of the places we were going to visit because he knew where we were going and what was in store for him.  Plus, we could point to the pictures and name the people, places and objects.  Fortunately, with the advanced cameras and picture editing programs now available, families can easily make picture pages to suit their child.

Some Examples

A common family excursion is a trip to the grocery store.  Place a picture of the store at the top of the page and add pictures of the items from your shopping list.  It is easy to find pictures on internet sites and download them or to take pictures in your own kitchen.  With all the technology tools available now, it is easy to organize the photos on a page for printing or for loading onto a tablet or other technology device.  If you print the page, it is handy to slip it into a plastic sleeve.  If you have another child coming along on the trip, that child could ask the sibling with autism to point to the bread or point to the apples, then mark and reinforce every time the child responds correctly.  This is a simple and easy way to get other children involved in teaching and reinforcing the child with autism.  Let the child who is in charge earn points/tokens for privileges by working with the child with autism.

Other topics for picture pages could be family members:  Grandparents, their house, their living room, backyard and pets; families and homes of other relatives; families and homes of friends.  Make picture pages of the park, playground, pool, and other recreation areas; also, any favorite local restaurant and the menu items.  As the child gets older, you can add labels or captions and either read them or have the child read them (if it is not too stressful for the child).

If the child has a particular interest in animals, shapes, toys or action figures, make picture pages on those topics.  If the child has ideas about what he would like to look at, even better.  My son enjoyed a simple picture page with blocks of colors.  He would happily point to red, green and blue for up to ten minutes at a time.

Family Members Can Help

Making a picture page, either print or digital format, can also be an excellent project for another child or children in the family; it could be a way for them to earn points or tokens for privileges.  It would be interesting to see what they come up with, and what they would like to share with a sibling with autism.

TAGteach + picture pages = a smoother car trip!

What is TAGteach?

TAGteach stands for Teaching with Acoustical Guidance. TAGteach is a teaching and communication method based on the scientific principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).

TAGteach enables extremely precise positive reinforcement of behavior by using an acoustical signal to “mark” the behavior – at the precise moment the child performs the behavior! The acoustical signal is a short, sharp sound made by a handheld device (the “tagger”). When the child performs the correct action, the parent/instructor immediately presses the button on the tagger and hands over a treat (candy, treat, token, praise, social recognition, or money) as a reinforcer.

With TAGteach, it is easy to reinforce behaviors precisely, quickly, and intensively. The immediate, accurate feedback and positive reinforcement result in the child performing the correct action more often, and for longer periods of time. With immediate feedback and learning tasks broken down into small steps, children (and adults) can learn many new skills with TAGteach — at their own pace.

For more information visit the TAGteach website.

Join the free TAGteach Yahoo Group.

TAGteach taggers are available here.

See Martha’s book about TAGteach for Autism or feel free to ask me a question (with no obligation).

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Martha Gabler

Autism parent. Director, Kids' Learning Workshop LLC. Author of Chaos to Calm: Discovering Solutions to the Everyday Problems of Living with Autism.

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