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  Home > AT Basics > Special Populations > Communication Needs > Creating Visual Environments


Where to Begin

Considering AAC

Visual Environments

Vocab Presentation

Representing Vocabulary

Visual Environments

Finding Pictures

Ideas for Students

Social Skills


Using Devices & Systems

Creating Visual Environments

Schedules | Task Organizers

In addition to communication symbols and overlays, we use picture symbols to create schedules and task organizers to aid in communication about the events and activities in which the student will participate.


We create schedules to help students understand what will happen next. We can use schedules to indicate:


Classroom Daily Schedules

A classroom schedule using real photos



A classroom schedule using Boardmaker symbols



Single Picture Location cards worn by staff members. Staff hold card next to their face as they say the location to pair verbal and visual prompts.


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Student's Personal Schedule

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Student Specific Schedule binder with Part day or All day picture symbols from Boardmaker arranged on the first page of the binder.  

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Student specific all day wall schedule located on the wall within the classroom.

Student specific schedule board mounted on a file folder.

Left column - Locations the student is going to that day.
Middle (green) Column - Where the student is currently.
Right Column - When the student moves to a different location in the school, they move the symbol to the done column.  

The yellow velcro strip in the middle is a place for staff to place symbols relating activities in that location.


Inside the folder are additional symbols, a school lunch menu and a daily check sheet so staff can chart daily progress, document behavior and communicate with the family about food eaten at lunch.


Student specific schedule board using words to help the student construct sentences.  

Schedule cards are located inside the folder along with the student's communication diet.


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Activity Schedule 

(Highlighting the events in a group lesson.)

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Use picture symbols to visually represent the schedule of activities within a small group lesson. This system of visual organization has the activities to complete in a column on the left.  As an activity starts the corresponding symbol is moved to the center of the board.  When the activity is finished it is moved to the column on the right.


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Work Session Schedule

(How much work is expected)

Use number symbols to visually represent the schedule of activities within a work session.


Use work baskets, so the student can visually see how much work remains.


Use picture symbols to visually represent the schedule of activities within a work session.  In this schedule the student moves the symbol up next to work when they start an activity.  They move the symbol into the all done baggie when finished.


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Other Schedule Ideas

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Visual schedule symbol organization.  Boardmaker from Mayer-Johnson can be used to easily create visual representation of activities and vocabulary. Organize symbols in a binder for easy access.


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Use a timer to show the student how long they need to remain at an activity. http://www.timetimer.com in conjunction with their work session schedule



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Task Organizers/ Reminder Strips

Task Organizers and Reminder Strips visually represent the steps involved in completing a task.  A child can use these visual reminders to gain independence in completing tasks on their own.

Step by Step
Visual Directions for steps involved in getting ready to go home.

Visual directions to prompt steps for getting dressed.

Story Format
You can make an activity visual by creating a storybook format to highlight the sequence of a lesson and and use a visual chart to document the results.

I Spy Activity
Visual Directions to prompt students when playing "I Spy".

Musical Chairs
Visual Directions to prompt students when playing musical chairs.

Bathroom Task Strip
Visual Directions  posted in the bathroom.

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