Visual Supports: Daily Schedules

A daily schedule shows the major events of a persons day and can help keep them on track as well as reduce anxiety regarding how the day is going to go.

Keep it simple! Start small and expand as needed.

It is best to just include the major portions of the day. Otherwise the schedule might get too long and difficult for a child to follow successfully.

This type of clear, simple support provided ahead of time can help a child predict what is going to happen in the future. It also helps them understand when there is a change in the routine so they can adapt and become more flexible.

Use it and encourage your child to participate!

Now that you’ve made the schedule, it is important to use it consistently, making it part of the child’s daily routine. The schedule should be used to preview what is going to happen throughout your child’s day and referred back to during each transition. In order for the schedule to be useful it is important to have some way of indicating that an activity has ended. This can be done by either turning the picture over or placing it in a stop or finished pocket. If your child wanders away from an activity, you can also use the schedule to guide the child back.

When you first begin using the schedule, you probably need to perform the steps yourself. This is called modeling. It allows your child to learn how to use the schedule by first watching you. However, as soon as possible your child needs to actively participate in the process. For example, at first you may need to put the schedule together yourself but soon your child might take part by placing each picture on the board as you hand it to them.