Now & Next Boards
A Now & Next board is a visual device that displays the task you are currently doing, as well as the task that is coming next. They are a communication aid that helps give structure to a person’s time.
A Now & Next board can:
- Explain what’s coming next
- Reduce anxiety about transitions
- Increase focus on current activity
- Help with understanding on time management
- Increase engagement with a less enjoyable task
- Support increased independence
- Increase tolerance for unfamiliar tasks
How to start using the board
When making your board, consider your child’s level of understanding. It’s important the visual cues work for them – so consider if you want to use real-life images, words or Widgit, Makaton or Boardmaker symbols. If you would like help creating a personalized pack of activity cards please get in touch and we’ll happily put one together for you.
Print out your board, print and cut out your symbol cards. They can be attached to the board with bluetack or velcro strips.
To start with, use two engaging, motivating and short activities in both the ‘Now’ and ‘Next’ section on the board – this is to help engage the child and help them feel in control.
Use the board like this regularly for your child to get used to it.
Once your child is used to using the board, you can start introducing less engaging activities in the ‘Now’ section. Keep the ‘Next’ activity enjoyable and engaging.
Use language to support the use of the board. Point to the symbols and state “Now it’s [activity]. Next will be [activity].”
Tips for using your Now & Next board
- Use a timer to support transitioning from one task to another.
- When your child has completed their ‘Now’ task, engage them in removing the picture card. They could put completed tasks in a postbox or envelope.
- If you’re using a Now & Next board at home then speak to your child’s school or nursery about using one too – consistency across all settings and environments can really help support engagement.
Download our templates and communication card packs to get you started.
School, Nursery or a local library should be able to help you print and laminate these resources.