How to increase interaction and develop your child’s skills

As parents and carers, we are always looking at different ways on how to increase interaction and play with our children.

This can be difficult if you have a child that prefers to be on their own, has obsessions, rituals and strict routines.

Some people with Autism Spectrum Disorders appear to be unable to read social cues, are not interested and have limited play skills.

People with learning and language impairments are not always able to process auditory cues for social interaction.  

There can be many reasons why a child prefers to play on their own without requiring a diagnosis, they simply are happy in their own company.

I used a visual sequence to try and tap into my son’s world, develop new skills, interact and play.

As a result, in using the Now & Next visual sequence board led to us having many interactions.

In this post, I will show you how to use a Now & Next Board to increase interaction and develop new skills.

The key to our success was using pictures to show each step of the sequence or routine.

We attached a motivating picture card to the last sequence of the board to encourage other activities first.

Some motivating picture cards might be bubbles, favourite toy, iPad, food etc.

The Now & Next Interaction Sequence Board

A Now & Next Sequence Board sometimes referred to as a This and Then Board is a visual tool to help your child see what the activity is now and next.

You will need a sequence board and picture cards of different play, social, academic activities with velcro.

Make sure pictures are clear, if possible with a white background, therefore, less distraction.

picture communication hand cards pecs interaction autism

Picture Communication cards interaction

Look at what your child or the person you are supporting likes to do, what is their favourite toy or obsession.

Add the “motivating picture to the last step on the board, below the motivating picture is bubbles.

Attach the first two pictures to the board (below Duplo & Puzzle). These pictures are activities you can do together.

Picture Communication Board play sequence autism interaction

Once they have finished each activity you can support the child to place the picture card onto the finish line and move onto the next activity.

Tips for interaction success

In the beginning, only do each activity for a short period of time or as long as the person is happy refrain from delaying the transition.

Transitioning and not knowing what one is doing now and what is coming next may lead to anxiety and behaviours.

A visual sequence allows the person to process quicker, what they are doing now and what is coming next.

Therefore a visual sequence will relieve some anxiety and behaviours.

Visual sequences are not only for children, adults with learning and communication impairments can also benefit from a visual sequence.

Don’t forget, persistence and consistency is the key.

Till next time

Alison – Mother, Blogger, Founder – See-n-Speak Communication Supports.


Alison Mooney

I am a mother first, Blogger and Founder of See-n-Speak Communication Picture Exchange resources for people with a Disability. Sharing our resources and knowledge successfully using picture exchange as a form of communication with our child.

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