Ten great visual support apps


If your kids are having a tough time with Back to School, consider helping them along with visual supports. Why do I like visual aids? Here’s why:

  • My kids can’t always process what you tell them but they can understand what you show them. For learning new skills a visual task list is worth its weight in gold. If someone working with Owen comments that he’s been flopping, my first question is whether they showed him where they were going or what they were doing next, or did they tell him? One works, the other doesn’t always.
  • For that same reason the boys are a whole lot less anxious if they can see what’s coming up. It gives them more time to get used to the things they’re not fans of (nail trimming for example) and also lets them know what comes after (you survived nail trimming, let’s celebrate with a swim!)
  • They can see they have lots of choices. They like those (and let’s face it, who doesn’t).
  • For folks that have challenges with respect to executive functioning, visual aids can be a helpful reminder of what to do and when.

For those looking for an app to help with visual task lists and schedules, I’ve pulled together this list of my top ten. Click on the name of the app to go to it in iTunes. Things to note when looking the list over:

  • There are more expensive options out there. I haven’t included them for a couple of reasons: a) they’re expensive and I hesitate to recommend apps that cost a lot of money, especially for those with special needs or parents, teachers and therapists who are looking for apps to use with special needs people, because they rarely have money to spare. b) I don’t own them because I can’t afford to buy them and I’m not going to recommend apps I haven’t personally tested.
  • I’ve listed the apps in the order of simplest to more complex in terms of target user. So, if you’re an adult looking for an app good for you, start at the end of the list. If you’re looking for an app to use with a toddler, start at the beginning.
  • If you are looking for just one app that can be used with a variety of people regardless of age or ability, then go for FTVS HD.

Lastly, if you’re looking for some ideas for apps that employ Visual Scene Displays for AAC use, check out this article written by Megan Sutton of Tactus Therapy Solutions who outlines her favourites.

Picture Me Calm

Current price: $1.99

Compatible with: iPhone and iPad

Picture Me Calm - A visual schedule tool for children with special needs, app by Awesometistic LLC

Picture Me Calm is a perfect app for task analyses and schedules for toddlers, as well as older kids who would benefit from a simple app with an easy, step-by-step structure. Create cards by taking a picture or using one from your device’s camera roll. Populate schedules with the cards you have created. Your child just taps on the picture once a step is complete and the picture turns over. Stickers can be collected for completing schedules. That’s it – no fancy bells or whistles but the strength of this app is in its simplicity.


Current price: $4.99

Compatible with: iPhone (can use on an iPad at x2 setting)

Routinely app by Logical Thought

Another very simple to use app is Routinely. This one comes with some pictures already provided – you can see them used above for teeth brushing and getting dressed, and below for the playground. In addition, you can add timers if those are helpful in order to help your child manage their time and choices – see below for an example of those.

Routinely app by Logical Thought

My only concern with respect to this app is that it hasn’t been updated in a year and the developer has no other apps in the store. Hopefully this doesn’t mean it’s been abandoned as that would result in users potentially having problems as Apple upgrades iOS.

Visual Routine

Current price: $4.99

Compatible with: iPhone and iPad

Visual Routine is an easy to use app that incorporates some nice features. Routines can be text, audio or picture only, or all three, and up to four choices can be added to each step in the process. The app includes a handful of stock images or you can take a picture or add one from your device’s camera roll. I like that the entire routine/task/schedule is visible on one screen, including the choices available and that the steps are shaded as they are completed – it gives the child using it a view of the complete picture.
Visual Routine app by Pufferfish Software

i Get… My Schedules at Home Social Skills Stories

Current price: $4.99

Compatible with: iPhone and iPad

Those of you familiar with my blog will know I love the apps from I Get It. They are a great, responsive developer who makes reasonably priced apps with tons of different uses. If in doubt, feel free to read my review of one of their apps here (including video!).

I Get...My Schedules at Home Social Skills Stories app by I Get It, LLC

All the different books that come with the app

The features about this app that I particularly love are: the ability to save multiple users (awesome for those of us with more than one child, as well as teachers and therapists), the pre-prepared schedules that save loads of time (see example below) but can be quickly and easily customized, and the ability to record your voice so that your child can pair the visual with both an audio and written label.

i Get... My Schedules at Home Social Skills Stories by I Get It, LLC

Pre-prepared schedule for a weekend morning, fully customizable


Current price: $6.99

Compatible with: iPhone and iPad

I’ve written about Choiceworks before too! It’s an app I frequently recommend because it’s particularly awesome for children who are learning self regulation skills. It combines the ability to create visual schedules together with other visual supports to help children manage two things that can often be very tough for them – waiting and feelings. It comes with a huge selection of images and it’s fast and easy to use. I go into more detail and you can see more pictures of the app here.

Wonkido Visual Organizer

Current price: $9.99

Compatible with: iPad only

This app would be ideal for someone looking for a holistic organizational system to use with children and/or teens. It syncs with the cloud, you can give access to a teacher and/or therapist in order to facilitate information sharing, your child can use this as a journal to share with you how they are feeling, you can assign points and prizes as motivators to certain activities, create to do lists and more.

Wonkido Visual Organizer app by Brighter Futures for Beautiful Minds

FTVS HD – First Then Visual Schedule

Current price: $14.99

Compatible with: iPhone and iPad

I love this app because it combines so many visual supports in one and all the resources you need are right at your fingertips. Create task analyses, schedules, etc. (anything that requires sequential steps so this could be used for recipes, science experiments, the sky is the limit) and incorporate choice boards or video modelling. If you don’t have a visual in your camera roll you can internet search for a specific image from within the app, use one of the app’s huge library of stock images or use a Smarty Symbol. With five different views you can use the one that works best for you or your child and add a timer to the whole activity or to specific steps within it. I heart this app – it’s easy, comprehensive and great value for money.

FTVS HD - First Then Visual Schedule app by Good Karma Applications

My Video Schedule

Current price: $7.99

Compatible with: iPhone (can use on an iPad at x2 setting)

If you just want a visual diary this would be a great option, especially if you or your child respond well to video modelling. This app has a huge (100+) library of pre-recorded videos that you can download and incorporate into your schedule. A lot of these videos are particularly useful for teens and adults who could use additional support in learning or being reminded how to complete important life skills – things like how to put on a bra, change a maxipad, go shopping, withdraw cash from an ATM – you can record your own videos too or just use a picture, but how awesome is it to have this library of videos for life skills right at your finger tips?

My Video Schedule app by Acceptional Possibilities

This is the user view – the previous event is on the top left, next one is on the top right. The current step is a video outlining how to brush your teeth.


Current price: $4.99

Compatible with: iPhone and iPad

I first learned about this app from Jordan Sadler SLP who wrote about it here. There’s a Lite version of Popplet that you can download for free if you want to give it a try. It’s actually an app designed to be used for creating mind maps but one of the off-label uses I think would be especially handy is for older kids and adults who are planning out their day. You simply tap on the screen to add a popplet which you can then add an image, text, writing or other popplets to. Resize, drag them around the screen, colour-code, save as a photo, share and print. Simple. Awesome.

Popplet app by Notion

Visual Schedule Planner

Current price: $14.99

Compatible with: iPad (universal soon)

You want all the features of a regular organizer but you want it to be visual and hey, audio support would be nice too. VSP has a daily, weekly, monthly view, you can repeat events and set reminders – just like a regular organizer. In addition however, you can add images (your own or one of the 1,500 custom images in the app), you can add audio (record your own or use TTS) and for events that you want to break down into more detail you can add an activity or add a video. It’s undergoing a big update at the moment which will make the app universal so it’s only going to get better.

Visual Schedule Planner app by Good Karma Applications

Please feel free to share in the comments if there are other apps you’ve found useful for creating supports for tasks, schedules and routines.


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4 Responses to Ten great visual support apps

  1. Lori C G September 14, 2013 at 9:30 am #

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful list, Deanne. Another scheduling app that I have used with my son and found to be very helpful is Video Scheduler by MDR.

    • OMum22 September 14, 2013 at 10:28 am #

      Thank you for reminding me of that app Lori – I don’t have it so that’s why it’s not on the list. For those of you who might want to take a look at it, here’s the link in iTunes: http://fave.co/19RVDL5

      The app is universal and is currently priced at $12.99. Robin Parker writing for Praactical AAC included it in her list of visual schedule apps so that’s a great recommendation: http://bit.ly/VVGtvP


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