Wearable activity schedules to promote independence in young children

J Appl Behav Anal. 2021 Jan;54(1):197-216. doi: 10.1002/jaba.756. Epub 2020 Aug 6.


Activity schedules consist of a series of visual discriminative stimuli, arranged in booklets or binders, which function as prompts for appropriate behavior. Although activity schedules are useful, their typical presentation in binders can be cumbersome and stigmatizing, placing additional barriers for independence and inclusion. The purpose of the present studies was to evaluate the usefulness of a wearable activity schedule and determine whether prompts provided by it would be sufficient to support completion of a complex chain of behaviors by young children. In Experiment 1, the Octopus watch® provided prompts to children of typical development to complete a morning routine independently. In Experiment 2, the usefulness of the watch was evaluated in children with autism spectrum disorder engaged in play activities in a clinical setting. In both experiments, children reliably displayed a greater proportion of independent engagement in target behaviors when prompts were delivered by the watch compared to control conditions.

Keywords: autism; daily living skills; play skills; visual activity schedule; wearable technology.

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Visual Perception
  • Wearable Electronic Devices*