Would you turn back home if you forgot your cell phone? The importance of schedules.

Would you be lost without your Smartphone?

How many of you would go back home if you realized that you had forgotten your phone?  

Why is this?

It keeps us organized, informed and connected to our world. That is very similar to what the schedule is for children with language difficulties. It is helpful for them to know how much work they need to do and what it is. 

The other thing that you could consider the schedule as is a “To do list”. Think about your “ to do list”  Do you add to your “to do” list or do you take off?

Set the schedule up so that it has all the things that the student will be doing.

In the clinic, I think it is most helpful to have it on the door of the clinic room.  In other places, you want to have it so that it is always in the same place so that the child can refer to it. Think about if you were looking for the clock to tell you how much was left of class and they kept moving the clock to different places. You would get frustrated and probably spend more time trying to locate the clock as opposed to the task at hand.

You can set the schedule up in several ways. It can be a vertical schedule with an envelope that indicates that things are all done. The child takes off the activities as they are done.

vertical schedule

SCERTS (Social Communication Emotional Regulation Transactional Supports) suggests another way. They have the schedule board divided into green and red. The steps to be undertaken are in green and when the step is finished the child moves it to the red side.

red green schedule

 Horizontal Schedule: This schedule should be made so that you read from left to right.

horizontal schedule



This is a video of a schedule and why they are important from OCALI.  It also shows a great video of an object schedule.  One thing that can get a child to their schedule is the use of their name. Look at the video and see how the child put his name on his schedule and then took the next activity off. Then you get the name off the schedule so that you can give it back to him at the end of the activity to lead him again back to the schedule.

Here is another resource that is written for parents with examples of other types of schedules.

iidc.indiana.edu-Using Visual Schedules A Guide for Parents-27srgsc

The below resource is from National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders and gives more information on visual schedules.


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81 comments on “Would you turn back home if you forgot your cell phone? The importance of schedules.
  1. I definitely agree that having a schedule with a child is critical. Having a visual schedule helps individuals of all ages.

  2. Read – I’m a big fan of my own visual schedule (a whiteboard calendar on my bedroom wall), so I know kids appreciate them, too, in whichever form they take!

  3. Read. I always make schedules for all my clients. I find that it keeps clients on track and ensures that I wont forget materials or an activity when setting up. We’re both lost without it.

  4. Read.

    I’ve seen schedules in almost all the chilid sessions I’ve observed. I’ll be sure to keep this in mind!

  5. Read! I altered my schedule to the one you showed us yesterday in the chart format so that the client can check off the boxes when an activity is completed.

    • See how it will work. Therapy is always a work in progress and refinement is always something we would do. Nice work!

  6. I love schedules! Both of my clients last semester loved their schedules and it helped to keep us organized during each session. It was great to see the different ways schedules can be used to accommodate different learners. I will be sure to keep this in mind moving forward!

  7. I am also a huge advocate for schedules! I like to use the first example where the child can take off the activity and put it in the “all done envelope.”

  8. Read…I love the how you provide us with many examples of different schedules. It is helpful when thinking about what may work best for each specific client. Schedules are so important.

  9. I agree. Schedules are so useful for children but I have noticed that it has also helped me stay organized in my session!

  10. Makes sense! I hope to play around with Boardmaker tomorrow before we meet. I do not have a laminator– is there somewhere I can go to have materials laminated? Or does it make more sense to purchase a laminator?

    • Although it is not necessary to laminate everything often times if we are going to use something multiple times it is helpful to have a laminator. I find that I use mine constantly. You can find laminators cheap ( web search Amazon has them for as low as 22 dollars, Walmart $20, Staples 33).

      As you are responding to the blog on schedules you don’t need to have the icons laminated people have had paper pictures and used tape. It looks different, but it can work.

      In the schools, we tend to use the same schedule cards over and over so we make a child’s schedule card and every afternoon set it up for the next day o all of our schedules are laminated and velcroed. However when I am doing my individual session I may not have a laminated schedule I may instead write on a white board what we are doing and have the child erase the tasks completed.

  11. Great ideas! I’ve also used a vertical schedule divided into “First” and “Next” columns, which can give the client control over the order of activities as well as embed some directional terms/prepositions within the context of a schedule.

    • Great ideas Jen!

      For some clients,there is a need not only to have a schedule but also a first next board with the next being something that they look forward to.

  12. I love all of these ideas for a schedule. I find a lot of personal benefits from making to-do lists and can see how great this visual would be for a client.

    • Terrific, if you need any help making the schedule email me and I can assist you. If you need Boardmaker pictures give me what your plan is and I will make them for you as we will be snowbound for at least tomorrow.

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