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Imagine this: you’re headed to a work conference and there’s no itinerary. You have no idea what the topic of the event is and no schedule of events, let alone when mealtimes or breaks will be. Pretty confusing (and maybe even a little frustrating), right?

Many of our kids experience this daily as they feel unsure of the day’s events. (And yes, even if you do the same routine every day, some children might still need support to know what’s coming next!). This can lead to dysregulation and reluctance to engage in the daily activities. The solution? Create a visual schedule for your child!


"Visual supports introduce a feeling of consistency, comprehension, and predictability for our children."

Visuals can be useful for people of all ages and abilities. Visual supports introduce a feeling of consistency, comprehension, and predictability for our children. When we know what is happening, we feel a greater sense of confidence to navigate novelty and in turn, feel more regulated with a greater sense of control.

You can easily customize the visual to suit the needs of whoever is using it. Oftentimes, the simpler the visual tool, the better. When creating visuals, you can show a sequence by numbering items or using, “first, then, last” language on a whiteboard, sheet of paper or a more detailed visual chart. Get your child involved by having them select from choices or take part in drawing the pictures to get them more engaged with the plan.

Here are some examples of simple visuals below:

First Then Last
Play Date Plans

Visuals can be helpful for more than just routines or transitions, including: 

  • Traveling somewhere new (google a picture before going!)
  • Drawing out ideas to introduce or organize a new activity
  • Sharing ideas with someone else using a thought bubble visual
  • Explaining rules in a visual format
  • Steps in how to sequence a task (such as handwashing, etc.)
  • Promoting executive functioning skills and planning
  • Depicting choices for boredom busters or calming strategies

Need help getting started with visuals? Your occupational or speech therapist would love to help you at the Center!

Contact us today.