This paper provides a detailed summary of visual schedule research published before 2004.
Increasingly, visual schedules are being used to help children with autism who exhibit problem behavior. According to the authors, the primary purpose of a visual schedule is to “provide the individual with a way to predict or understand upcoming events in order to reduce problem behavior and increase independence.” The article provides specific examples of visual schedules and describes concretely how the visual schedules can be used. It also describes how a visual schedule can accomplish the dual purpose of providing the child with information about upcoming activities, as well as an appropriate format for teacher attention. The authors report that visual schedules have a great deal of empirical support; they make suggestions on how a speech therapist can implement visual schedules in the school and home setting. Incorporation of visual schedules should result in improved functional communication and improved quality of life for the child.