It’s important to remember that community based instruction is still instruction. There is teaching going on. We can’t disregard all of the valuable tools & strategies we use to teach our students on a daily basis. We need those tools more than ever when going out into the community. Visuals are helps for showing changes, showing the sequence of activities, and helping our students independently communicate!

Visually Show the Change

First things first – you need to make sure you are telling your kids about this major change to their routine in a way they understand. If your student has a visual schedule – then use the visual schedule to show the change. A surprise field trip is no fun for anyone. Even though this is a good change to the routine (in your opinion), don’t forget that change can be hard for our kids. So even though they may love the place you are going to for your community trip, it is still a change that could be challenging. So make sure your kids are prepped!

Mini Schedules

I have a deep rooted love for mini schedules and they are beyond perfect for community based instruction. Show exactly which activities you will be doing on your trip and the order the activities will be occurring. There are steps involved in going out into the community and your student needs to be aware. You don’t walk out the door and get handed chicken nuggets – there are some things you need to do first! (Read more about mini-schedules here)

Fast Food Ordering Visuals

Let’s be real. There isn’t much I wouldn’t do for some chicken nuggets and french fries. It’s delicious. It’s deep fried. You can dip both in ketchup. What’s not to love? A classic fast food field trip is always a hit. Whether you are McDonalds, Wendys, or Burger King kinda person – this visual fits the bill (no pun intended). Have your students make each choice and order their meal on their own. Check out this visual here. 

Subway Sandwich Ordering Visuals

This is one of my favorite little visual sets because it gets SO detailed! We did community trips to subway specifically because there were so many communication opportunities. There are a lot choices to make when you order a sandwich and wanted to make sure my students had a way to communicate each choice! Check out this visual here. 

Sasha Long

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