Learning visually is a great mode for many people, including numerous children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  For some, using visual calendars and task management systems can make all the difference.  Although not for everyone, using mobile devices with apps of this type, allow us to quickly add photographs, audio, and video on the spot and with the individual in need if desired.

I will be blogging about the following apps in the coming months; Choiceworks Bundle, Visual Schedule PlanneriPrompts,  First Then Visual Schedule HD, and the Time Timer App.   They all can be used with the built-in iOS feature, Guided Access, which locks the device into the desired app for a predetermined amount of time or until the passcode is entered. They also are available for rent on an iPad through IPAT.

For this post, we will investigate, the Choiceworks Bundle ($10) for Apple iOS, which includes the Choiceworks and Choiceworks Calendar app.

Choiceworks

Choiceworks All Boards Page
Choiceworks All Boards Main Page

 

Choiceworks includes customizable, “Schedules”, “Waiting”, and “Feelings” boards all located on the main page, which can be tailored for a child or adult. One can use pictures from the Choiceworks program or picture/photos of your choice and combine these with personalized audio recordings. These boards can also be printed and shared.

  • Schedules Board Provides a task analysis with timers if needed.  When a portion of the task on the left is completed, it can be dragged to a corresponding square on the right, where it receives a green checkmark. When a timer goes off, a general notification pops up on the screen and the timer reads, “Done”.
  • Waiting Board Provides a timer and two activities to choose from while the individual waits.
  • Feelings Board Provides two customizable strategies when one feels this way, and two activities to do after the strategy has been completed. For example, the sample “upset” board says, “When I am upset, I can get help or take a break. Then I can watch a DVD/video or play a game.”

What I Like

  • Each board provides two choices to aid in transition at the bottom of the page, each with a timer if needed.
  • This app can “read” the whole board aloud in a logical manner before he/she interacts with it. For example on the Schedule Board, it would say, “My Morning schedule. First I need to brush teeth, eat breakfast, get dressed and ride the bus.  Then I can, drink water or use the computer.”

What I Wish for the Future

  • The ability to add pictures, audio, and video on the fly right within the board itself.  Currently one has to go to the main library to create images, then open up the board, go into edit mode,  and locate them.
  • The ability to make the task completion more ridged if desired.  Currently, the task can be dragged to “All Done” before the timer is up. This might not work for all individuals.
  • More user guides.

 Choiceworks Calendar

This app provides scheduling in a Calendar format with pictures and audio. Events can be easily repeated and viewed in day, week or a monthly arrangement.  These calendars can also be printed and shared.

What I Like

  • Allows one to take pictures right within the calendar entry for scheduling on the fly.
  • Easy button which allows one to quickly see upcoming events.

What I wish for the Future

  • Option to integrate with the Choiceworks app. For example, it might be nice to have the capability to link to certain boards such as the “feelings” or “waiting” boards the day there is a doctor’s appointment.
  • More user manuals.

What are Others Saying?

The following are two blogs discussing Choiceworks and one video blog.

http://learningworksforkids.com/apps/choiceworks/

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/app-reviews/choiceworks

 

Part 2: Visual Schedules and Task Managers

Part 3: Visual Schedules and Task Managers

Part 4: Visual Schedules and Task Managers

About Author

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Jeannie Krull is the Program Manager 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.