Sunday, October 21, 2007

What are Visual Supports?

What are visual supports?

Visual supports are anything you can look at that helps you:
  • understand
  • remember
  • plan 

We all use visual supports to understand what we hear and to remember important things. 

We use visual supports to help us think about complex ideas. 

Examples of Visual Supports:
  1. TO DO list. 
  2. Calendars
  3. Electronic organizer
  4. Post-it notes
  5. Charts
  6. Maps
If I go to a lecture and the presenter does not hand out visuals, I make my own and call them lecture notes

Using visual supports is not foreign--it just sounds like a complicated idea when it is suggested as a strategy for children with ASD.  There are some clever ways to teach with visual supports that teachers and parents and Speech Language Pathologists, I might add, have figured out and it is worth reading about these and trying them. New things will be easier for your child to learn in the first place and difficult things will go better is you use visual supports.

Are there correct ways to use Visual Supports?

There are some good ideas out there for using visuals but the only rule is to use something that works. Above is an example of a visual support that one family made to help their son understand what would happen at his birthday party.  This simple, hand made visual support made what might otherwise have been a stressful event into a happy event as you can see in birthday party photo here.  As this family talks about the happy birthday celebration in the days to come, they will use both of these photographs and others to support a conversation. They will be helping their son to stay on a topic for several conversational turns by referring to the photographs as they talk .  Visual supports are easy to make and use and should be made and used about 100 times more than they are for children with ASD.

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