The Visual Schedule for Students With Autism

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Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disorder that has been affecting individuals in one way or another for generations. With better understanding and awareness of this condition, more and more parents are opting to include early intervention services for their children with autism spectrum disorders. Unfortunately, some students still struggle to find the right accommodations at school due to often conflicting information from different educational institutions. The Visual Schedule aims to provide an easy-to-read document that can be used as a reference guide by both teachers and parents who have questions about how best accommodate students on the Autism Spectrum through daily routines.,

The “visual schedules for students with autism free” is a resource that has been created to help teachers and parents of students with autism. It includes visual schedules, as well as step-by-step instructions on how to use the schedule.

For those with autism spectrum condition, visual scheduling is a methodical strategy that improves learning and communication (ASD). These kinds of visual aids provide educators and parents the resources they need to guide kids toward success in school and in life.

A Visual Schedule: What Is It?

A visual timetable is a diagram that shows the tasks and activities that are planned. They are particularly helpful for organizing multi-step projects and ensuring that kids adhere to guidelines and due dates. By providing constancy and lowering resistance to particular tasks, visual timetables lessen anxiety. Even while the majority of individuals link these visual aids to pictures or images, events might also be triggered by

  • toys
  • objects
  • phrases of words

For pupils, the visual timetable itself serves as a regular reminder of:

  • what they ought to be
  • what they ought to be doing,
  • when they ought to begin and end

How to Use Visual Schedules with Autism Students

implementing a visual schedule in classroomWhen designing visual timetables for autism, the following points should be taken into account:

For sequenced activities to be successful, instructors and parents must first make sure that the kid understands the idea. Visual timetables are often taught by:

  • pictures
  • photos
  • play acting

The timetable must be feasible. When the series of events overwhelms autistic youngsters, they could quit up. You should instruct kids on independence and achievement rather than excessive frustration. If you see a youngster finding the image timetable difficult to follow, you may divide it up into manageable portions. 

The majority of instructors favor combining preferred and least-favorite tasks. This encourages kids to stick with less-than-favorite activities. A first-then board is an effective primary intervention, for instance. Students with autism are taught that if they first conduct a behavior that they don’t really appreciate, then they will be allowed to undertake an activity they prefer.

Make the visual scheduler your own. The more the visual aids are relatable to autistic youngsters, the more probable it is that they will comprehend them. For instance, adding images of each student successfully completing a process step would promote learning and increase self-efficacy. 

Physical reminders are often hung on walls, but they may also be carried about in a clipboard or binder. The youngster should be able to view these visual aids to keep on task throughout the day, regardless of the settings. 

Children are cued with a quick verbal reminder when an activity is about to start, and if required, they are physically taken to the displayed visual or pictorial schedule. 

There are prompts provided as needed. If the learner doesn’t react to the original signal, either a verbal or nonverbal prompt might be used. Prompts should ideally be reduced as the learner gains knowledge. 

Everyone enjoys checking things off their lists. It is crucial to provide pupils with a means of demonstrating that they have finished an activity. Include a “done” checkbox, for instance, at the conclusion of each phase. It will boost their efforts and give them a feeling of success.

Speaking of reinforcement, visual timetables must be used in conjunction with a reward, particularly when a student can do a job on their own. This might come in the form of a compliment, a reward, or an enjoyable activity.

Using Visual Aids to Address Difficult Behaviors

Dealing with Challenging BehaviorsUnavoidably, there will be opposition to keeping the timetable. Teachers put their attention on finishing the work at hand when problematic behaviors emerge. Teachers may change the timetable with a chosen activity as the incentive for work completion if the challenging behaviors persist.

Teachers often provide a visual schedule reminder during a chosen work for crucial assignments that may provide difficulties. It is highly beneficial to provide praise and positive reinforcement for adhering to these image timetables, finishing chores, and successfully moving on to other activities. To help kids maintain concentration and move on to other activities, some instructors find it beneficial to employ a timer.

How to Create Visual Schedules in the Classroom

How to Create Visual Schedules in the ClassroomSpecial education instructors creatively use anything from color coding to school bell synchronization when it comes to visual timetables for children with autism. Teachers personally arrange visual timetables based on the learner’s interests and personality in order to enhance performance. Before the student arrives each morning, the instructor will set up the student’s daily schedule and related learning materials. They may need to check if items are collected in task baskets or in the practical aprons that special education instructors wear in order to do this. Allowing older kids to choose and enforce their own timetables may be suitable. When employing visual aids, it may be necessary to physically coach and lead kids who are developing slowly or who have autism spectrum disorders during the whole procedure.

An Applied Behavior Analysis Technique: A Visual Schedule


Additionally useful as an applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapeutic approach is a visual timetable. It seems natural that a visual calendar may be used into the ABA therapy regimen because it is a well-known and well studied form of treatment for people with autism spectrum disorders. Additionally, a visual timetable may be utilized to support spoken directions. A Picture Exchange Communication System may be used after an ABA visual timetable (PECS). Andy Bonday, PhD, and Lori Frost, MS, CCC-SLP, developed PECS in 1985. With preschool-aged autistic youngsters, it was put into practice at the Delaware Autism Program. Since then, PECS has been used to a large number of children with diagnoses like:

  • Dwarf Syndrome
  • Tourette Disorder
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • defects in development

PECS has six stages of operation. These consist of:

Phase I: Communication

The person discovers in Phase I that the images reflect a thing or activity they want. They acquire the ability to swap out the image for the thing or action. They may swap out a real deck of cards for a photograph of one.

Second phase: persistence and distance

Persons continue to generalize based on a single image and start to apply it to many people and locations. They also learn how to communicate more persistently. They could carry their portable schedule with them to the park or the store rather of only utilizing the image in the classroom.

Picture Discrimination, Phase III

As people become used to trading photos, they start to ask for their favorite things using two or more images.

Sentence structure in Phase IV

Using PECS, students may learn how to construct sentences. Through the use of the images in their communication book, they may construct basic words. These books have a removable “Sentence Strip” that enables children to line up related images to form sentences. They could use an image with the words “I want” written below it, followed by a visual representation of the activity or object they want. The book contains photographs that are organized so that students may quickly locate the images they need to interact with others. Students who are more skilled at communicating might improve their speech by adding adjectives and verbs.

Responsive Requesting in Phase V

In Phase V, the student responds to a request by using their communication book. If you ask someone what they would like to do during their afternoon free time, they may be able to compose a phrase that informs their instructor of their choice.

Phase VI: Making remarks

Finally, pupils start expressing their ideas and emotions in their communication book. They grow more involved with their environment and their classmates. They start to use phrases to express how they feel or what they perceive instead of just asking for things.

Reasons to Use Visual Schedules


The use of visual timetables is widespread and advantageous for a number of reasons, including:

  • Organization and Predictability

Visual timetables provide a defined level of predictability. It may be necessary to explain what will happen next to students with autism or other developmental difficulties so they can mentally be ready for the forthcoming activity. With the use of a graphic timetable, transition times may be made easier for autistic students by setting expectations that they can then handle. Generally speaking, fewer surprises are preferable; unexpected occurrences are often undesirable and may cause disruptive behavior. A schedule’s dependability offers a feeling of confidence and visual support. It may reduce anxiety as well.

These kinds of visual aids may be used to educate pupils everyday routines and the abilities necessary to carry out certain tasks. For classes with autism, a visual timetable may keep pupils on task. For instance, a teacher may present photographs that show students how to use the restroom or display the day’s pictorial schedule on the wall. Most autistic children seem to learn best when given step-by-step visual clues, which also keeps them focused. For practically any collection of abilities, visual timetables may be made, including:

  • relationships with others
  • routines
  • academics
  • everyday routine
  • makes the abstract concrete

Any individual finds it challenging to absorb abstract ideas, but autistic children find it to be more challenging. Students may better comprehend abstract ideas like time and order with the aid of visual timetables. With the help of these graphic tools, abstract concepts become concrete things. Understanding must be improved by making an abstract notion understandable and tangible.

Independent functioning is the ultimate objective while dealing with autistic children. Students may study with little outside assistance thanks to the autism visual timetable. Along with learning certain skills, children develop the capacity to:

  • organize
  • make choices
  • time management techniques

All of these skills are essential for independence. They may eventually be able to plan and adhere to their own routines, showing that they are becoming more independent. 

Programs for ABA Help Staff

Revised 2022

Additional Articles on Visual Schedule Autism:

The “visual schedule template free” is a visual schedule that provides students with autism with an outline of the day.

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