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Picture Supported Environments

Picture This! - Creating Picture Supported Environments in Child Care and Head Start Programs

The Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative (WATI) funded 12 Child Care and Head Start programs to implement field-based strategies for facilitating meaningful interactions between young children with disabilities and those without disabilities. This page shares the successes they had when implementing picture supported environments. These programs included:

  • One Birth to 3 program
  • One Child Care Reference and Referral Center
  • Five Head Start programs
  • Five Child Care programs

Target Outcomes
Targeted outcomes of this initiative include:

  • Training of staff in the appropriate use of picture-based language/communication supports with young children with disabilities in naturally occurring activities.
  • Implementation of research-based practices that enhance the communication opportunities of young children in early childhood general education, and childcare settings.
  • Increase the appropriate use of picture-based communication displays provided in early childhood general environments that enable preschoolers with disabilities to be educated, to the maximum extent appropriate, with non-disabled peers.
  • Document the increased use of picture communication displays in typical settings by preschoolers who receive special education programming with non disabled peers, on mini-grant evaluation forms and child's IEP/IFSP.
  • Share project outcomes through a network of Wisconsin preschools to demonstrate best practice in the use of picture supports.

Each site received a computer, printer, and Boardmaker(r) software along with several types of picture production materials such as laminate, foam board, and Velcro(r). A few programs purchased the Sign Language Picture Symbol library from Mayer-Johnson to compliment Boardmaker.

Training and Support
Personnel from each program attended a training session conducted by WATI consultants. One to nine staff members were initially trained. One school district that served multiple programs trained 50 staff members. For another, the nine staff trained represented over 80% of their staff. WATI consultants were available after the training to provide technical assistance as needed.

Several programs trained additional members of their staff. The Child Care R & R program created a training binder with examples to use as they trained additional staff. They also created a traveling display of examples of picture supported environments. One program requested a follow up training for four additional staff.