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Using Visual Schedules

A visual schedule is a series of pictures, words or symbols that indicate a series of events or steps on how to complete daily activities (i.e., hand washing). This is something your child can follow throughout the day. A visual schedule works by breaking down tasks into more manageable steps. 

Visual schedules can help your child:
Follow a routine
Transition between activities
Develop new skills
Reduce dependence on caretakers when completing an activity
Increase on-task behavior
Decrease tantrums
Reduce anxiety

Pick a routine that you would like to address.
Start small using 2 or 3 simple steps in the routine.
Use pictures, words or symbols that your child understands and can interpret independently.
Place the schedule in a location that is easily accessible to you and your child, such as on the refrigerator, in the family room, on a closet door, or dresser drawer. 
Prior to using the visual schedule, make sure your child understands how to use it. Review the schedule and steps in the schedule with your child.
When your child begins to use the schedule, he/she may need verbal prompts on what to do. Try to minimize the verbal prompts as much as possible, as this will help foster independence.

Resources to help you create a visual schedule:

Christina Mullady, M.S.Ed, BCBA

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