Best Apps for Creating Visual Schedules
Visual schedules are such a great tool for students with disabilities. For anyone unfamiliar with a visual schedule, they are simply a schedule for the child’s day made with pictures to help the child understand what they will be doing that day. They vary based on the child’s cognitive level and what types of images they can understand. Some kids use a photograph because they can understand it better than a drawing or symbol used to represent a concept (for example, a drawing of a sandwich to represent lunch).
As a speech therapist, I use a visual schedule during my sessions to show what we will work on. I’ve found some great apps that let you create visual schedules. Using the iPad is convenient because you don’t waste time looking for your pictures. When we work with multiple students, it’s difficult to keep all of the tiny pictures organized. The apps have a photo library you can select from and many let you take your own pictures. No more desperately searching for my “bubbles” visual – it’s organized for you all in one place.
First Then Visual Schedule ($9.99) lets you make first/then boards, visual schedules, task analyses, social stories, choice boards, and video models all in one app. This probably explains the higher price. To make the schedule, you can use your own photos, search on the internet, or choose from the large gallery they have of pre-made images. It also comes with a timer which is great for our kids. This app comes highly rated and is also available on Android products.
Choiceworks ($6.99) – This is another highly rated app. It comes with templates to create visual schedules, work on understanding feelings, and work on waiting. I use this app all the time in therapy because it’s easy to quickly make a schedule. It comes with a large image gallery and you can take your own pictures too. The visuals in the photo gallery are cartoon drawings, similar to Boardmaker symbols but not exactly the same. Unfortunately none of these apps use Boardmaker symbols which would be best for consistency. What I end up doing is taking a picture of the symbol because I know my students understand it. It also comes with a timer which is very helpful. I use the app primarily for making schedules but the waiting and feeling boards are also helpful tools for kiddos on the spectrum.
Video Scheduler ($12.99) This app lets you make picture or video schedules from its pre-made gallery of images or your own photo library. You can also record your own audio. A totally separate feature is creating video segments for video modeling. This can be a useful teaching method that uses a video to model the skills you’re teaching.
Stepping Stones – Daily Routines ($0.99) – This app is only available on iPhones, so if you go to look for it on an iPad it won’t be there. It’s similar to the others in that you create a picture schedule using your own pictures. You can also record your own audio. My favorite part of the app is the visual countdown timer. You can set a picture of the reward the student is earning with a countdown timer marking how long they get to do the activity.
I don’t have an Android tablet but I’ve found the following visual schedule apps for Android users:
- First Then Visual Schedule ($9.99)
- iPrompts-ASD Visual Schedule ($9.99)
- AutiPlan Visual Scheduling (free)
- What’s Next Visual Prompts ($1.87)
Do you know any more great apps that make visual schedules? Let us know! Sign up for our mailing list here to stay updated with our latest therapy tips, app announcements, and blog posts. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Pinterest, and like us on Facebook!