Last Updated on April 28, 2021 by Steph Reed

Visual timetables aid transitions by enabling children with autism to understand what they will be doing next or where they will be going. Visual timetables enable children to be independent and can motivate children by making it clear what will be happening in the day.

visual timetables children with autism

The child removes the next symbol from the timetable and travels with it to a board by the next transition point (i.e the classroom door, next too or on the classroom table or another room) and matches it to a corresponding bigger symbol. A finished box or pouch can also be used. The photo below shows a big symbol for dance and toilet which is on the door leading to the dance hall and the toilet. The big symbols are changed before prior to the children making the transition.

big symbol transition

The different coloured timetables making it clear to the child which timetable is theirs. The children using the timetables above are working at a symbol level. Timetables can be made up of objects of reference, photos, symbols or words for children who can read and have a good understanding of text. Travelling timetables can be made on clipboards for photos and symbols and wipe boards for written timetables.

Please see more information in another article I wrote about visual timetables here.

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Steph Reed

Hi I’m Steph Reed, an Autism Specialist Teacher and Consultant. I teach schools, service and families practical ways to meet the needs of autistic children, to maximise their outcomes.


Abby · December 11, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Good afternoon,
My boyfriend and I run a free teaching resources website called Early Learning HQ and we have a visual timetable here: http://www.earlylearninghq.org.uk/class-management/sen/

What do you think of ours? Are there any improvements we can make? Maybe you can link to our website if you like our stuff. We make it all in a very small team in Swansea and it would be nice to share it with some new people :).


sreed · December 11, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Your visual timetables are great, thanks for sharing! I am now going to have a look at your other resources, thanks!

As I work with children who use symbols as a means of communication, for consistency within the school we all use the same widget symbols for visual timetables and resources which are used on the most common (paid for) symbol programmes. I have worked in mainstream schools who do not yet have access to these symbol programmes and therefore use free symbol resources such as yours and it is great to see high quality editable resources like yours.

Gina · July 17, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Love your site! If you get a chance please take a look at http://www.sensupport.co.uk. We have a contract with Widgit to use their symbols to make personalised resources for children with special educational needs. We can personalise any if our products to meet the needs of a child.
Good luck with your work!

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