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Now & Next Board

Now & Next Board

What is a 'Now and Next' board?

The board has the words ‘Now’ on the left-hand side and ‘Next’ on the right-hand side, with a space above to add a symbol or photograph. It is a visual strategy to help children understand and complete desired tasks.  It is almost like a list of jobs to do!

What does it look like?

Who might benefit from a ‘Now and Next’ board?
  • A child who has difficulty in understanding spoken questions, e.g. ‘What comes next?”  and “What do I need to do?”
  • A child who has difficulty finishing one activity and starting another.
  • A child who has difficulty with transition and small changes.
  • A child who has limited attention skills.
How do you use the board?

It is important to consider the child’s level of understanding. Do they understand photographs, symbols or the written word ?

  • When you introduce a 'Now and Next' board for the first time, start by using motivating activities for both the 'Now and Next' sections so the child is initially in control and engaged.
  • When you are using the board regularly and you feel they are ready, you can gradually start to add a less motivating activity/task in the 'Now' section. Continually use a highly motivating activity in the 'Next' section. To begin with, keep the activities short to keep the child engaged.
  • Show the board to the child, point to the symbol/photograph and support the child by using the key words, e.g. “now tidy up . . . next outside.”
  • When the child is engaged with the activity/task, the adult should say, “tidy up finished . . . now outside” whilst pointing to the next symbol/photograph.
  • Encourage the child to move on by supporting them to ‘post’ the 'Now' symbol in a box or turning it over before moving onto the 'Next' symbol/photograph.
  • The board generally works well if you persist and use the board consistently.

(Sometimes a 'Now and Next' board might be referred to as a Timeline, Schedule or Task Management Board.)

If you would like further support/advice, please contact the Communication Team.