This month we will continue our series in the area of visual calendars and task management systems. Apps of this type may be very helpful for children and adults with disabilities such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and intellectual disabilities.

In part one we discussed the Choiceworks Bundle.  The Visual Schedule Planner app is on the docket today and is available for rent on an iPad through IPAT.

Visual Planner Home Page
Visual Planner Home Page

Visual Schedule Planner-$14.99-iOS

The main crux of this app is a visual calendar with notifications that incorporates task analysis, photos, audio, and video to aid in transitioning, to help remind, identify and teach one about the day’s events.

Calendar

The events can be presented in a daily format divided into morning, afternoon and evening.

For each calendar entry, you can incorporate:

  • A recorded audio sound or text to speech;
  • A picture symbol from the provided icon library, a photo from the camera or photo gallery, or an image from the web; and a
  • A video or an Activity Schedule.
Calendar Edit/Add Entry Page
Calendar Edit/Add Entry Page

The app allows for a weekly or monthly view.   The week view is “view only” with the exception of audio. In the monthly view, an activity is only represented by a star, however if you click on a particular day, the activities show up on the right side where you can interact with them.

List View

List View allows one to break up the days events and see only a portion of the day such as just the morning’s activities.

Visual Schedule Planner-List View
Visual Schedule Planner-List View

 

Video

Videos can be accessed right within the calendar. When the video is done playing, it goes right back to the calendar page you were on decreasing confusion.  They are stored in a video library that is alphabetized and can be further identified with icons or photos of your choice.

Activity Schedule

As stated above, Visual Planner also allows one to create a task analysis or “activity schedule” and link it to a particular calendar entry. Each task can incorporate a picture (icon/photo) and audio can be checked off as each step is complete. One can also incorporate a timer with a slider that indicates the time and shifts from green to red.

Visual Planner Activity Schedule
Visual Planner Activity Schedule

Notes

This versatile app also provides a spot for teachers, parents and caregivers to jot down notes on each day right within the calendar.

What I Like

  • The ability to make voice and video recordings right within the app and the ability to access them later within the libraries.
  • The ability to play videos right within the calendar.  Could be great for video modeling.
  • The nice green checks that appear when an items has been checked complete.
  • The ability to lock out the controls from the user and eliminate other visual features if needed by the user such as the clock.
  • Video tutorials
  • The ability of the “day view” to change to “list view”, which decreases the amount of activities the users sees at one time. This could reduce anxiety and a number of other benefits.

What I Wish for the Future

  • A more thorough user manual.
  • The ability to incorporate video within the activity schedule.
  • The ability to view a week and then go to a particular day.
  • The ability to add unique pictures in month view.  Currently if there is an event on a particular day, a star appears. If you have a repeated event every day, the star icon will be on every day, so there is no differentiation.  It would be nice to be able to use different icons/photos to indicate special events and make the calendar more useful to the user.

About Author

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Jeannie Krull is the Program Director for ND Assistive (formerly IPAT). She is an ASHA certified speech/language pathologist and a RESNA certified Assistive Technology Professional, who has worked with people with disabilities of all ages since 1991.