Educators and Related Service Providers

School Environment

Visual Icons

School Activities



First/Then Templates

  • A First/Then Schedule presents what the individual needs to do now (first) and what he/she will do next (then). Usually the FIRST is a non or less preferred activity followed by the THEN which is a highly preferred activity.

First/Next/Then Templates

  • A First-Next-Then Schedule can be used to facilitate up to 3 transitions. This support can also be used to break down a complex task into steps.

Daily Schedule Templates

  • A Daily Schedule shows the sequence of tasks or activities for the day or the sequence of tasks or activities for a specific student. Some may need individual schedules in a format that will meet their needs and address daily schedule changes.

Weekly Schedule Templates

  • A Weekly Schedule shows the individual a visual representation of what their schedule will look like for the week. This will allow the individual to anticipate events ahead of time and plan for any changes noted in their schedule.

Activity Schedule Templates

  • Activity Schedules can be used to break the task down into smaller, more manageable components and sequence out the steps of the activity.

Monthly Calendar Templates

  • A Monthly Calendar can be used to prime the individual for any upcoming school breaks, assemblies, or activities where a schedule change will occur. This will give the individual time to anticipate those changes ahead of time.
    • For example: October – Teacher will show the individual when he/she is off of school for Fall Break and when the class will have their Halloween party.

To Do/All Done Templates

  • A To Do/All Done support can be used to help the individual organize their time or break down the steps of a difficult task. It’s a visual way to show the individual all of the things they accomplished and what they have left to do.

Structured Work Schedule

  • A Structured Work System is an evidence-based strategy that promotes task completion and independence. By using the visual structure of this system, students understand the expectations of the task that needs to be completed and what to do when the work is finished. This visual schedule helps connect all the components of this system together. The educator could let the student pick which numbered activity to complete first, second, and third.

Change Alert Templates

  • A Change Alert visual can be used to reflect any changes in the daily schedule or individual routine. This is a priming strategy that will help the individual learn how to be flexible and accept change.

Transition Supports

Visual Countdown Timer

  • A Visual Countdown Timer can be used to support transitions by serving as a visual warning that the preferred activity is about to end. You could use a clothespin, arrow, or visual of the activity (inside of the colored circles) to help the individual understand the amount of time they have left.
    • Examples: Transitioning off of the iPad/computer, outdoor recess, centers, engaging in a preferred activity, etc.
    • Countdown Timer Example

5 Minute Visual Countdown Timer

  • A 5 Minute Countdown can be used to show the individual a visual representation of how many minutes they have left of a preferred or non-preferred activity. You could use a clothespin, arrow, or visual of the activity (inside of the white boxes below each number) to help the individual understand when they need to stop.




Visual Expectation Templates

Positive Behavior Strategies

LASARD Preference Assessment Questionnaire

  • A Preference Questionnaire will give educators a bank of reinforcers that can be used to motivate their student during non-preferred activities. Everyone is willing to work for at least one thing….. it’s just finding that one thing! We know educators know a lot about their students, but family members may have some additional information that you can build on since they know their child best. Consider sending home this questionnaire, at the beginning of the school year, for all of your students with limited verbal skills as a good teaching practice! Once you have this info, then the team can discuss what the reinforcement plan will look like when implementing strategies.

Class Incentive Boards (Lower Elementary)

  • A Class Incentive Board is an effective classroom management strategy to reinforce positive classroom expectations. As the students follow rules in class, the teacher will reward them with a puzzle piece of a preferred activity. Once all of the puzzle pieces are earned, then the class gets to engage with that activity for a designated amount of time.

Token Economy Systems

  • A Token Economy System can be used to teach new skills or reinforce appropriate behaviors. This support can be used to work on academics, behavior, communication, social, or self-help goals.

Structured Breaks

  • A Structured Break support can help limit the amount of breaks the student can take during the school day.


Voice Meter

  • A Voice Meter provides a visual of the expected volume level and where the individual is on the scale. In this visual, you would place a star in the left column on the level the student should be at, and then a picture of the student on the right column showing them where they currently are on the scale. In the example, the boy’s face is on red because he’s using a loud voice, but the star would be on the blue because you want him to quiet down.

Contingency Map

  • A Contingency Map is a visual representation that shows appropriate and inappropriate behaviors and the outcomes that result from each. One path shows the appropriate behavior as the pathway to the reinforcer. The alternate pathway shows the inappropriate behavior and the unfavorable outcomes for the student.

The Talking Stick

  • A Class Discussion Visual Support (The Talking Stick) is an effective classroom management strategy to maximize instructional time and decrease blurting out behaviors by giving the students time to process questions and facilitate choral responses. This tool will also help the individual manage their own behavior during classroom instruction.

Deep Breathing Rainbow

  • The Deep Breath Rainbow Visual is a tool that gives the individual something to focus on while working to calm their breathing before or following a difficult situation. When using this support, the individual would manage their breathing by tracing their finger along the rainbow’s colors as he/she breathe in and out. 

Grounding Exercise

  • This Grounding Exercise can help the student focus on their 5 senses and bring awareness to what is happening around them.

Mindfulness Exercise

  • The Mindfulness Visual Support walks individual through a grounding technique using all of their senses. This helps reconnect them to the present moment to help them regulate and cope in times of stress! The interactive support helps individuals reconnect with the present surroundings in times when they may be anxious, overwhelmed, or otherwise dysregulated.


Communication Boards

A Communication Board is a support with symbols or pictures that is used to facilitate communication for individuals with limited expressive language. This support can also help the individual understand and comprehend spoken and written language. Below are a few examples of the different types of communication boards that could be used in the school setting to support students with disabilities.

  • A Learning and Participation Board can be used to promote understanding of grade level content and provide the student with an alternative form of communication to participate during class discussion.

Visual Cue Cards


  • A Yes/No Cue Card can be used to give the individual a way to respond to a simple question with a yes or no response.

  • A Break Cue Card can be used to give the individual a way to express the need for a break when they start to feel anxious or frustrated.



  • Scripting provides support in the form of words and/or pictures for a individual to model appropriate communication and guides interaction with and responding to an appropriate communication partner. A scripting visual provides the individual the phrase to say, during different situations, to help them communicate their wants or needs when initiating a conversation.

Social Interaction

Social Conversation

Greeting Another Person

  • A Greeting task analysis will break down the skill of saying hello to a familiar person or introducing yourself to an unfamiliar person. Some individuals may need visuals to learn this skill, while other may only need written words.

Initiating a Conversation

  • An Initiating a Conversation task analysis will break down the skill of starting a conversation about a shared topic. Some individuals may need visuals to learn this skill, while other may only need written words.

Ending a Conversation

  • An Ending a Conversation task analysis will break down the skill of terminating a conversation when you run out of things to say or have other plans. Some individuals may need visuals to learn this skill, while other may only need written words.


Social Interaction

Turn Taking Visual

  • A Taking Turns visual can be used to facilitate interactions with more than one person during an activity or conversation. This support provides the individual with a visual cue of whose turn it is and helps them understand how turn-taking works.

Waiting Social Narrative

  • A Social Narrative provides the student with an improved understanding of events and expectations that may lead to more effective responses. The concept of waiting can be very challenging for many students. This simple story will help the student understand the expectations and appropriate responses when they have to wait during the school day.

Waiting Visuals

  • A Wait Card visual is used to teach the concept of waiting during activities and interactions. When using the wait card, provide the visual to the individual and give a verbal direction (example: “wait” or “you are waiting for…”). When the individual’s wait time has expired, remove the card and provide specific positive praise for waiting. Immediately following positive praise, allow the individual to participate in the activity or interaction. Some wait cards are time-sensitive, and you may see a few boxes beneath the word “wait.” Place a checkmark in each of these boxes as the individual is waiting. These checkmarks will allow the individual to visualize an end in sight to the wait time.
    • Example: Using this support to show the individual to WAIT their turn to speak during instruction or waiting to get lunch in the cafeteria.

Using My Mental Filter

Using My Mental Filter 2

  • Using a Social Filter support can help the student be aware of appropriate vs. not appropriate things to say when interacting with other people. The idea is to teach the student how to filter out their thoughts before saying it out loud.

Elementary Social Autopsy

Middle/High Social Autopsy

  • A Social Autopsy helps students understand social errors and promotes choosing alternative solutions to correct those errors in the future. This tool can help facilitate the conversation following a situation where debriefing should take place.


Peer Interactions

Turn and Talk

  • Turn and Talks provide opportunities for the students to interact with other students, while engaging in reciprocal conversations and practicing different social skills. This strategy is very simple since it requires very little planning and offers all students an opportunity to participate, especially for those students who have deficits in this area. To structure the turn and talk, the students can take turns holding the “Lips” and “Ears” to help them understand who should be speaking and who should be listening.

The Snack Chat

The Lunch Chat

  • Conversation starters help promote and facilitate conversations during unstructured activities throughout the school day. This strategy is appropriate for all ages! The Snack Chat is a conversation starter using only pictures for younger students. The Lunch Chat has different prompts to get the students talking in a fun and engaging way!