The Autism Project's How-To Toolkit

Use the materials in our "How To" Tool Kit to help you support play and transitions. The "How To" Teach Tip Sheets detail how to teach the child to use Countdown Timers, FIRST/THEN Boards, Turn-Taking, and the Help, Wait and Break Cards available at The Cards are designed with popular Hasbro, Inc. toy characters and are designed to hold children's interest as they learn to use these important tools. The colorful and engaging cards themselves are available Free PDF downloads on the ToyBox Tools website.

Below is a collection of Tip Sheets written to provide you with clear instructions to reference when introducing new supports to your child(ren) or students. These "How To Teach" Tip Sheets will guide you to use these important supports with confidence with your child(ren) or students.

How-To Information Sheets and Tool Kits

House Bound Survival Tool Kit

This Kit has 10 popular visual supports for you to use to provide clear information to your child about your day's activities. Included are Schedules, Common Visuals for Choices, Choice Boards, Social Narratives and more for you to choose what will help you most.

Also know, our Family Support Specialists are available for calls for support. Please call (401) 365-8528 and leave a message. We will do our best to return your call ASAP.

Three Levels of Play Defined

This information sheet explains beginning levels of play and the expected skill levels.

Why Is Play Important?

Everyday experiences and relationships impact your child’s development and create a pathway for their future growth. Read to learn how play impacts development for all children.

Developmental Milestones

Many biological, psychological, and emotional changes occur from birth to adolescence. Children develop skills at different times, and each developmental milestone has it’s own normal range, however, there is a “typical” timeline that guides doctors, professionals, and parents.

Common Terms Related to ASD

The many new terms used in relation to a diagnosis can be overwhelming. This Information Sheet includes definitions of some of the more common terms and expressions used as related to ASDs.

The Role of Structure in Play

Structure is often seen as a barrier to a child's development of play skills. Read to learn the important role structure plays for many children for whom play skills don't come easy.

How to Teach Tip Sheet

How to Teach "HELP Card"

Teaching a child to ask for help from others is an essential life skill. Children that do not know how to request help may just wait for someone to come to them or “act out” to show they need help. Either way, an adult can teach a functional approach to ask for help. When a child is struggling and her frustration is increasing, her ability to communicate will decrease. A visual HELP Card will cue the child to seek assistance and will give her a means to communicate.

How to Teach "WAIT Card"

Teaching a child to wait is a valuable skill. Children must wait their turn in games, conversations, at the grocery store and in many other daily expectations. Waiting is a life skill.

How to Teach "BREAK Card"

Knowing when and how to be angry is a skill many children struggle to learn. As a result, children benefit from direct teaching on how to manage their emotions. In the beginning, an adult should initially label the emotion, describe the body’s response and teach when a BREAK is necessary. This teaching will take time for a child to learn and to develop as a new routine.

How to Teach "TURN TAKING Card"

Turn-taking is a life skill necessary for social success in all environments. Turn-taking is not a skill that develops naturally for many children. Many children need to be taught turn-taking skills and offered many opportunities to practice. Teaching turn-taking involves many skills such: 1) a social understanding of why we share; 2) self-regulation skills; 3) what to do when I am waiting; and, 4) knowing when to take a turn. By preparing a child to learn about turn-taking you are setting them up for successful play with peers.

How to Teach "COUNTDOWN Timer"

Children can struggle with understanding of time passing. Phrases such as, “in a few minutes” “shortly” and “almost done” can cause anxiety and challenges with transition. The Countdown Timer is a visual tool that helps children see the passing of time and prepare children for transitions.

How to Teach "FIRST/THEN Card"

Understanding the concept of time, order and multiple steps is an important life skill. These skills are the foundation of organizing an activity, your day or a long-term plan. The use of a FIRST/THEN Board is the FIRST step to teaching the important skill of following a schedule.


Los niños pueden tener dificultades para comprender el paso del tiempo. Frases como "en unos minutos", "en breve" y "casi terminado" pueden causar ansiedad y desafíos con la transición.


Saber cuándo y cómo enojarse es una habilidad que a muchos niños les cuesta aprender. Como resultado, los niños se benefician de la enseñanza directa sobre cómo manejar sus emociones. Al principio, un adulto debe etiquetar inicialmente la emoción, describir la respuesta del cuerpo y enseñar cuándo es necesario un DESCANSO. Esta enseñanza llevará tiempo para que el niño aprenda y se desarrolle como una nueva rutina.

How-to Social Narratives