In my classroom, many of my students did not use a lot of words. They certainly had a lot to commnicate, but it often came across as what some people call "behaviors." They all wanted to let us know what mesage they were trying to get through, but it was difficult. As my own teaching journey progressed, I learned the importance of including visual cues and visual messages along with my verbal talking. 

Visual supports are crucial tools for increasing communication in people with autism. Many students with autism struggle to understand verbal instructions and communication, but often have strong visual skills. Utilizing visual supports can capitalize on this strength and help them take more active roles in their learning.

visuals autism

Visual supports come in various forms like pictures, objects, and picture or icon boards. For example, choice boards are excellent tools for giving people with autism the ability to communicate their preferences. They can be used for games, meals, and other activities. With a choice board, the student can see their options in a collection of pictures and choose by saying or pointing out what they want. 

Visual schedules are a versatile tool and they allow students with autism to see what is coming up in their day. This helps reduce anxiety by giving them a look at what they can expect in their daily routine: school, chores, meals, bedtime, etc. Depending on the individual’s needs, visual schedules can be broken down even further to include smaller tasks. The visual schedule also serves as a way for parents, teachers, or guardians to slowly introduce something new into the person’s daily schedule. 

Another useful visual support is a First-Then Board. You can find a first-then board and other visual materials in the visual supports bundle here.

Visual Supports Bundle Cover autism

These boards can encourage students with autism to do an undesirable task first, because they will then be able to do an activity they enjoy afterward. This tool is another way to bring predictability into a student's day. Many teachers create a generic first-then board and place picutures or photos that are meaningful and recognizable to the student on them.








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