First/Then Schedules

Enrichment Therapies

January 9, 2017

Does your child have a tough time completing a simple task? Try using a First/Then visual schedule!

This visual shows your child that he or she will first finish one task or activity, and will then be able to do something fun! Here are some tips for starting out with a First/Then board: 1. Start small! In the beginning, your goal will be to teach your child what this visual means. To help your child understand the visual and also stay engaged, start with two motivating activities. For example, “First listen to music, then play cars.” 2. Keep activities short Especially when first using this visual, try to keep the activities short and sweet, in order to hold your child’s attention. 3. Refer back to the chart Be sure your child sees the pictures and hears your directions before the first activity (e.g. “First we will listen to music, then we will play cars”), between activities (e.g., “We listened to music! Music is all done. Now we will play cars.”), and after both activities (e.g., “We are done! First, we listened to music, and then we played with cars.”). 4. Slowly shift to including one preferred activity Once your child seems to grasp how the First/Then board works, shift toward the beginning with a less motivating activity first, followed by a more motivating activity (e.g., “First brush teeth, then play iPad game”). 5. Use clear visuals When finding pictures for your First/Then board, be sure the visuals are clear, and that your child will understand what they mean. You might consider taking pictures of the specific game or activity your child will be completing, and printing them for your board. Take a look at our Therapy Talk showing how to use the First/Then schedule here. Want a copy to use at home? Just click on the link underneath our First/Then Therapy Talk video.

Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. We provide individual speech-language therapy and tutoring as well as offering small group academic programs.  At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success.  Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.

740 Community Drive, Unit A

North Liberty, IA 52317


5530 West Pkwy, Suite 300

Johnston, IA 50131


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