In my classroom I follow the SCERTS model. SCERTS is an educational model which addresses the main challenges faced by children with autism and their families. The model focuses on building competence in the areas of social communication, emotional regulation and transactional supports and was developed by Amy Wetherby, Amy Laurent, Barry Prizant and Emily Rubin.
I use the keychain, with schedule pictures on, as a transactional support in my classroom. A transactional support is defined in the SCERTS model as any support which helps people respond to the child’s needs. In this case the keychain is worn so that if, for example, I am in the playground with my class and it is time for lunch I can show the children the appropriate visual support as well as using my voice to explain that it is lunchtime and that we must leave the playground. The use of the keychain has really helped me to support children who would have had difficulty transitioning from one activity to another.
As with any transactional support their purpose changes over time so that at the start of the school year I may use the keychain to decrease anxiety and help children to know what is coming next but by the end of the year it may support children’s speech as the children flick through the pictures and name the cards.