The subtitle for this book sums up its importance: Teaching Independent Behavior. While activity schedules are used widely in both homes and schools, my experience has been that any many situations they are not used as effectively as they could be.In this book, McClannahan and Krantz break down the important steps for introducing activity schedules to learners with autism to “teach them to initiate and complete activities and go on to the next activities without waiting for someone to give them directions.”
One of the biggest takeaways from the book is that activity schedules are not just another program we introduce to teach to mastery. Instead they should evolve with the child, growing as the child’s skillset grows, and promote an ever-broader range of independent play, social, and daily living activities over time. This book describes in easy-to-follow steps exactly how to accomplish this.
McClannahan and Krantz define an activity schedule as “a set of pictures or words that cues someone to engage in a sequence of activities.” Implementing this type of schedule is quite simple, but doing it well is much more challenging than it first appears, which is another reason this book is on the ABA Bookshelf.
The book is well organized and clearly explains every level of implementation, including assessing and teaching prerequisite skills, moving from pictures to text, and using activity schedules to expand social interaction skills. It also gives examples of a variety of learners and provides data sheets.
The entire Topics in Autism series is excellent, but this is one of my essential reads for anyone doing ABA because it is an incredibly useful tool in working to promote independence and it’s the kind of book that I learn from every time I pick it up.