Using Visual Schedules to Get a Child with Autism Organized in 45 Minutes

One of the common challenges that parents face, on a day to day basis, is How to get their child (with Autism) more organized whilst improving their communication and social interaction skills?

Today, I will share with you just 1 of the 43 different ways that you can use Picture Exchange Communication Systems (or PECS) to rapidly improve your child’s organization skills.

This technique is called Visual Schedules. So let’s get started, shall we?


Before you start, I highly recommend that you go and download 121 Free Colored PECS from our website by clicking here (unless you have already done so).

Also, I suggest that you Download FREE Schedule Template. It has many pages with identical layout, so only print as many as you need.

Lastly, here is your Bonus Visual Supports Quick Reference Guide that you can download by clicking the button below. Keep this document handy while you are implementing Visual Support tools for your child.

Visual Supports Guide download

What are Visual Schedules?

Visual schedules is a broad term that refers to the use of any type of visual tool (with photos, drawings, words, numbers) that helps an individual to understand what will be happening when. Schedules can provide an overview of a month, a week, a day, an hour, or the steps within an activity.

There are at least 11 different types of Visual Schedules used by PECS practitioners. The simplest one, which I will share with you today is called the Horizontal Now > Then > Later Sequence board.

Now > Then > Later Visual Schedule?

With a Now >> Then >> Later Board, you can define a set of 3 activities that will happen in sequence. A simple example of that could be a morning chore to help your child get ready for school.

How to use a Now > Then > Later Visual Board?

With the free PECS that you have received, you can start creating basic visual schedules straightaway. All you need is a Printable Template which I will share now. Follow this approach:

  1. Download the FREE Schedule Template from the Resource box I have shared above (or click this link). It has many pages with identical layout.
  2. Print a copy
  3. Plan the common activities that you want to create visuals for (to keep things simple, start with 2 or 3 ideas)
  4. Go to your Free PECS library and search from those 121 available PECS and print the PECS you need.
  5. Stick the PECS on the schedule with blue tacks, sticky tapes or glue, to create a board.
  6. Paste the board somewhere prominent for your child to see.
  7. If the board becomes really useful, think of laminating the same.

That’s it! Your journey begins now 🙂 . Good Luck!

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