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A visual schedule is a great way to support your child’s behaviour and social development. This step by step guide from children’s speech therapists at Kids First in Sydney’s northern beaches will show you how to make a visual schedule for your child.
A visual schedule is a group of pictures that represent the major transitions and activities your child will be involved in during a given day.
Visual schedules are useful to your child cope with anxiety, understand and manage the daily events in their lives whilst relieving the pressure of remembering what they have to do next.
Visual schedules offer a structure that allows your child to anticipate what is coming up next in their day. Visual schedules could even help your child get through tasks they don’t particularly enjoy because they can see that a more favourable task may be coming up afterwards.
You can use games and rewards in your visuals to help your child participate in things that may be difficult for them.
Visual schedules can also be a great way to help children become increasingly independent in tasks at home and at school.
Step by Step: How to make a visual schedule
There are many ways to make a visual schedule and there are many variations to visual schedules.
You may want to think about what your child has the most difficulty with. If your child struggles with morning activities, you may want to have a visual schedule specifically for the morning routine.
You may also want to divide up the day into morning, afternoon, evening tasks. Or, you might want to have the whole day’s activities on the board.
Here is just one of the ways to make a basic weekly visual schedule to use at home.
What you need:
- Make a plan. Write a list of all the activities your child does in a day. You can use a weekly planner divided up into 2 hourly blocks to make it easier.
- You can use real photographs of your activities or you can use boardmaker (software that uses symbols or line drawings to depict tasks, items and activities) or cartoon pictures to represent a task.
- A whiteboard or corkboard.
- Velcro dots.
- A ‘finished box’ to place activities that have been completed. (a tissue box covered with contact works well)
- Consistency! This system only works if you stick to it….it can be tough to start with but it is worth it in the end!
What to do:
- Print and laminate all your pictures (this bit takes the longest)
- Divide your board into the seven days of the week.
- Place the velcro dots on the back of all your pictures and on the board.
- Place the pictures on the board in the order that the tasks need to be done in.
- Your child can take the tasks off the board when they are completed and ethe picture can be placed in the ‘finished box’.
A visual schedule can be a fabulous tool for any child who is under the age of seven and they are particularly helpful for kids with special needs.
This resource was created by the Kids First Speech Pathology Team
© 2014 Kids First Children’s Services
Concerned about your child’s behaviour or learning?
Kids First’s speech therapists, occupational therapists, child psychologists and teachers have supported thousands of northern beaches children with behaviour and learning difficulties.
Find out more about speech pathology for children here.
Learn more about occupational therapy for kids here
If we can assist you and your child, contact us to make an appointment by calling Kids First on (02) 9938 5419