It is crucial when children start back at school that they are familiar with their routine and environment.

Anxiety can quickly arise if a child does not know what is happening next, this is particularly true of children on the Autistic Spectrum.

Anxiety is also the biggest factor that triggers difficult behaviour and reduced access to the curriculum.

Visual timetables can therefore be a crucial tool in helping children follow their routines throughout their day.
Teaching staff should aim to use a visual timetable for the whole class and encourage them to take an active role in removing tasks once they are complete. For children who are recognised to need the information specifically, it is advisable that they have their own portable visual timetable where they are encouraged to remove the activities on their own timetable throughout the day.

Visual timetables can certainly help children get through activities they find more difficult. This is usually achieved by using a motivating activity to follow a more demanding activity. It therefore acts as a reward to help children get through tougher challenges.

Some children will not cope with the whole day visually presented at one time, there it is recommended that you use no more than a morning orafternoon at any one time.

Some children will need further breakdown, such as a now and next board, or some prefer to call it a first – then board. This ismost successfully used alongside a choice board. Therefore the now or first becomes the activity and the next or then becomes the choice board symbol.

You will need to ask your speechand language therapist (if involved) whether the child responds bestto symbols (little line drawings)or photos. Ifthe child can respond to symbols this is therefore easier to resource.Packages such as Boardmaker and Communicate in Printare available to generate the symbols you need. Otherwise you might take photos of the activities for the child.

Many of the boards and visual timetable resources are available on our site to download for free. Do take a look.

We wish you luck in getting started with your visual timetables. Please do use our ask us a question facility if you get stuck or have further questions.

Wishing you all a bright and successful new school year.

Sarah Needham
Director of I.T.S
& Speech and Language Therapist

September 2009

Related Content