What is a visual timetable?
Many children benefit from having a predictable routine in their lives. Visual timetables can help them in the classroom and at home.
Everyone needs some structure in their life. As adults, we rely on diaries, calendars and to do lists to help us function, and children benefit from having a pattern to their day, too.
A visual timetable is a schedule that uses objects, photos, pictures or symbols to show what’s planned for a child’s day. They are most useful when they are individualised for the needs of the child.
Many parents find that visual timetables are a useful tool for home life, whether they have a child with SEN or just need to encourage them to be more organised and independent. You could, for example, make a timetable that shows the tasks your child has to do before school: have breakfast, get dressed, brush their teeth, and so on.
There are different ways that you can represent the schedule depending on what works for your child.
This is using physical objects to represent what is happening. For example using a cup to show that it is drink time, or a snack to show that it is snack time.
You might want to only use two objects - what is happening now and what is happening next.
Photos are a good way of showing what is happening through the day. For example, you could photograph your child at each step of getting ready in the morning - step one - underwear on, step two - tights/trousers on etc.
Picture symbols can be used for example a picture of a stick person next to a clock would represent 'waiting'. Or a picture of a person with their fingers on their lips would represent 'quiet'. You can access many different picture symbols through a subscription with https://www.widgit.com/products/index.htm
Whichever way you choose to represent your schedule, it is important that when a task is finished, that visual is removed from the schedule.
There are many different templates and ideas for making visual timetables online. There are also apps that can help you make schedules for your child, such as https://mypicturepath.com/
If you would like any support in setting up a Visual Timetable or would like any specific symbols, we can use our own software at school. Please do not hesitate to get in touch via your child's class teacher.