How to use First and Then Visuals

Children with SPED can sometimes find a classroom a bit confusing and can quickly become distressed with all the changes that are taking place around the room. My job is to help keep them calm and cope with what is happening. Sometimes I use visual supports to prepare and explain what is happening next.

I have found the “First and Then” Strategy a visual way of understanding what is expected throughout the day and a simple start to scheduling. As part of my structured teaching environment I use this simple timetable with individual work and in class activities.

Before starting a task and after a motivator assessment my young learners are offered a selection of visual reinforcers to choose from, this icon is placed in the “Then” side of the board.

And I place the icon of the task to be completed on the “First” side of the board. While teaching this strategy for the first few times I use quick errorless tasks and partially prompt my student if they become distressed.

Once established, my student will learn to follow the first activity independently and transfer to the next activity shown.

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