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Visual Schedules: Benefits and Tip

What is a Visual Schedule?

A visual schedule is a tool that provides a child with information about the sequence of events to occur. The schedule informs the child of changes that are about to occur and when it is time to stop an activity. A visual schedule may include objects, pictures, and/or words.

Benefits of Visual Schedule

  • Provides structure and predictability
  • Clarifies expectations
  • Reinforces verbal directions
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Teaches planning
  • Teaches time concepts and sequencing
  • Facilitates transitions
  • Available to reference throughout activity or day

Tips for using a Visual Schedule

  • Place the schedule in a location that is easy for child to see.
  • Review the entire schedule with child. Include breaks within the schedule and provide choices
    when appropriate.
  • Point to the current activity/task and provide simple verbal directions. Verbal instructions can
    include “It is time to sit at the table” or “It is time to get dressed”.
  • Indicate the end of an activity with verbal cues. Facilitate transition to next activity with verbal
    cues and assistance as necessary.
  • Make the visuals on the schedule removable with Velcro so the schedule can be modified.
  • Provide positive reinforcement for following directions and completing task on the visual

Resources to Create a Visual Schedule (free) (free) ($5.99)

– Abby Hobbs, MS, OTR/L