Use of First-Then Schedules to Increase Compliance

Posted on August 16, 2017 · Posted in Parent Tips

First-then schedules are some of the simplest types of schedules that can be used with children who have autism and other developmental disabilities. Rather than just asking your child to do something you can create motivation to complete a less preferred task to get to a more preferred activity. Simply put, a first-then schedule presents what we need to do now (first) and what we will do next (then). It can be done with pictures, objects, in writing or vocally.

All you need to do is be mindful of how you are giving the instruction.

For example if you know that asking your child to get ready for bed causes problem behaviors, but you also know that they really like when you read to them you could use the first/then schedule by stating, “First we need to get ready for bed, then I will read to you.”

The most effective way to use a first-then schedule is to be proactive about it. Knowing what demands will likely cause problem behaviors and what is motivating for your child can help you use this effectively.

Every child is different; some children may respond to hearing you make the first/then statement while others may need a visual that includes pictures or words. Find what works for them, be proactive and create motivation by being mindful of the way you are presenting demands.