Visual schedules can be a powerful tool for helping students be more successful and independent in their school day. There are many different types and ways to use schedules in your classroom.
Schedules are easily adapted to fit the needs of your student. They can also be used to teach students important concepts such as dealing with change, time concepts and flexibility. Teaching students to use a schedule is a good organizational strategy and can greatly help students who struggle with anxiety.
It’s important to keep in mind that schedules are not one size fits all. The format, portability, size, length, etc. can and should be tailored to each individual student.
Common forms of schedules include….
- The most basic type of schedules are object schedules where activities, groups, therapies, etc. are represented by an object. This type of schedule is great for students who don’t yet understand that pictures and words have meaning.
- Another option for early learners would be using photos of the item, group, therapy, etc. Typically, I pair the photo with a simple word or label.
- One of the most common types of schedules in a self-contained classroom is a picture schedule. These icons typically contain a picture paired with 1 or 2 words, as seen below. Click the picture to see the set I use from Autism Classroom Resources.
- Once students are able to read simple words and phrases with comprehension, I usually move students to a written schedule. Here is an example from a student who has been taught to use picture schedules and is now ready for words. I use schedule visuals from Autism Classroom Resources in my classroom. She makes it so easy! Check them out HERE.
- For students who understand how schedules work and can handle more visual busyness, I use weekly and monthly schedules.
Portability: Where will the schedule be kept? Will it move around with the student? Will it be on a wall, an iPad, in a binder, etc.?