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Picture Supported Environments: Their Stories

The twelve Child Care and Head Start programs that participated in the WATI Picture This! mini-grants all implemented the project in different ways but arrive at some very similar results.

Communication Categories

Multiple communication categories were noted: requesting, visual schedules, transitioning, prompting, sharing, conversations, participating, literacy, teacher requesting, and bilingual translations.

  • Requesting consisted of gesturing, pointing, and naming things desired. It also included making choices between options such as play centers.
  • Visual schedules were used to help with sequencing events and routines. These often help a child transition from one activity to another. Several types of schedules were used including mini schedules, individual schedules, and whole class schedules. Sometimes the schedules were used as prompts but single pictures were also used as prompts or reminders. Prompting for behavior change was noted several times.
  • Pictures were used to help children express their feelings during the day.
  • One project noted the pictures were used to hold mealtime conversations, implying more than one interchange.
  • Two noted the pictures supported participation in group activities such as circle time, turn taking, and small group activities.
  • Some of these activities revolved around 'academics' or literacy including labeling objects and pairing pictures with words. One program used pictures to supplement books and another made books of pictures for child use.
  • The teachers used pictures to give commands to children such as 'stop' and 'sit'.
  • Several centers used pictures to bridge the gap between languages with children whose first language was not English. The same technique was used with children who were hard of hearing, using sign language pictures to support communication.

Communication Partners

Four types of interaction were noted: child/adult, child/child, child/book, and child/self. All programs noted communication between adults in the setting with the children. Sometimes this included parents and grandparents. Nine of the twelve reported children communicating with other children, including siblings. Sometimes this was part of a structured activity but other times it was child initiated. One program witnessed a student reading a book using the picture symbols and another time talking to himself using the picture symbols.

More Examples