Visual Schedules

Although there are many types of visual schedules, they all typically contain images, symbols, photos and/or words to help communicate a task or activity. Depending on your child’s age and specific needs, their visual schedule may contain activities by the minute, hour, day, or week. For example, if your child requires more structure, they may use a visual schedule that uses “first, next, then” language to communicate activities for the next few minutes. If your child requires less structure with their daily activities, their visual schedule may list tasks for the entire day.

Visual schedules are a powerful tool that can help kids perform complex tasks, organize their day, or follow a routine. Benefits include providing structure and predictability and supporting independence. Here are some tips for implementing a visual schedule with your child:

-Ensure your child understands the purpose of a visual schedule and how to use it.

-Design a manageable schedule. For example, you may need to start with “First, then” or “First, then, next, last”.

-Mix preferred activities with non-preferred ones to motivate your child to complete the non-preferred tasks.

-Personalize the schedule with favorite characters or colors. Use pictures of your child’s specific toys or items in the house. Have your child help make the schedule.

-Cue your child to use the schedule or ask them to check the schedule when they begin an activity.

-Add a check box next to each task, if your child is motivated by marking off completing activities.

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