How to Use Routines for Students with Autism (and a FREEBIE!)

Routines are an important part of learning for children in general, and students with autism in particular.  When understanding verbal language is hard,  visual cues become very important. Students with autism especially need the help of routines. Token boards and visual schedules are very useful in developing routines.

Why use routines for students with autism?

Imagine trying to get through the day when everything that was happening was unfamiliar to you. Add in not speaking the language that the people around you were using to communicate. A nightmare, right?

This could be the day of a nonverbal student with autism without routines. Not surprising that some kids have behavior problems in these conditions.

Routines Help Us!

  • know what to expect.
  • connect the language we see or hear to the activities going on around us.
  • feel more comfortable.

How do visuals help develop routines for students with autism?

Visual schedules help students with autism see what is planned for the day. Just like we use our calendars to help us prepare, students with autism need visual schedules to see what their routines will be for the day.

Token boards help students with autism see how much work they have to do before getting what they want.

When we work, we get paychecks and have set dates for when we will be paid.

Our students with autism need their visual schedules (calendar) and their token board with reinforcers (paycheck) just like we do! Visuals are an important part of building routines.


Fortunately, you don’t have to start from scratch! The free Getting Started with Autism Guide has themed token boards and visuals to help you develop routines in your speech therapy sessions.

Picture of themed token boards for autism and behavior management

Get Started with Autism and Visuals!

Free token boards, visuals, and great tips are coming your way!

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If you are looking for more practical tips for your students with autism, read this! Did you know that visuals can help develop the language for play? Read how here.

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I’m Linda, an SLP who loves helping you build effective communication skills for your students using strategies and visuals. Pictures are time consuming, so let me make your life easier!

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