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A digital visual timeline app, shared between school and home, for children with autism and additional needs.


Richard Nurse




Product Product

Startup opportunity

People with autism tend to learn and understand best using visual supports rather than through auditory input. Seeing it, rather than saying it, helps the person to retain and process information. Children especially benefit from a routine and knowing the order of events for the day ahead, a visual timeline helps reassure and familiarise them with upcoming events.

Current visual supports, such as PECS cards, require parents to juggle lots of bits of paper (often having spent lots of time and effort first creating them). As a result, last minute changes in their child’s routine are incredibly stressful to implement and communicate effectively.

Picturepath founder, Richard Nurse, came to Nova having experienced this with his autistic son Freddy. Richard noticed how severely distressed and anxious Freddy became without a clear daily timeline; and the disruptive effect this had on him in the classroom.

Believing there was a better way to communicate and organise routines between home and school, Richard set out to create Picturepath. To help Freddie and the millions of autistic people globally progress through their days without anxiety.


Since Co-founding with Nova

  • Validated concepts, designs and prototypes with SENCOs, autistic families, teachers, child psychologists and The National Autistic Society.
  • Creation of connected mobile and web applications, allowing integrated home and school timelines.
  • Creation of brand, website & go to market strategy.
  • Grown an active user base of over 7000 parents.
  • Purchased and in use in over 20 UK schools.
  • Winners of Teach Primary 2020 Awards in the SEND category.
  • 87% of users reported reduced anxiety when using Picturepath timelines.

We created and moved through multiple early product iterations gathering feedback from all important stakeholders including SENCOs, teachers, families, parents, children and schools. Within 12 months we had completed multiple at home and in school and at home trials and secured our first school purchases.

This meant we were well positioned to react to the market opportunity presented by COVID-19. Following school closures, the picturepath app saw a 7000% increase in downloads and usage from parents, generating press coverage in multiple publications including the UKs leading disability magazine.

With growing recognition from the UKs education sector, Picturepath is helping to reduce anxiety and revolutionise the lives of thousands of people with autism and additional needs.



“By following Nova’s methodologies, we have created an award winning app that is revolutionising the lives of so many autistic families. I am incredibly humbled to be able to help 1000’s of other children just like Freddie - something I could have only dreamt of before meeting Nova.”

Richard Nurse, founder of Picturepath

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