Many children are visual learners. That means that they understand what they see better than they understand what they hear. Visual information is easier to process than auditory information because of the amount of time it remains fixed in space. Because words disappear after being spoken, children must both understand them immediately and remember them. This requirement for quick processing and memorization of spoken words can result in anxiety for many children. Pictures do not disappear as spoken words do, so children can look at them and work to comprehend the information contained in them at their own pace. For this reason, visual strategies/supports can be important tools to help children reduce stress and better understand what is expected of them.
What are visual strategies/supports? Visual strategies involve the presentation of information through colored line drawings, photos and videos as a way of better understanding task expectations. Use of visual strategies involves taking the same kinds of visual tools we all find helpful in everyday life (schedules, calendars, signs/symbols, task charts, animations and information videos) and expanding their use for specific learning objectives.
Visual strategies are designed to:
2) organize environments and support learning; and
3) regulate behavior with clear and concise expectations and consequences.
Visual strategies enable children to get the information they need to understand and interact with other people, function independently and behave appropriately. While it is generally understood that visual strategies are important supports for children on the autism spectrum, it is not as well understood that they can be highly effective supports for all learners!
How do visual strategies support children? Visual strategies help students by:
The Magic of Duration Charts http://autismgames.blogspot.com/2007/11/magic-of-duration-charts.html
Speaking of Speech www.speakingofspeech.com/materials_exchange
Parent Question What visuals can support my child in developing positive behaviors and social skills?
A Social Story teaches social expectations in a story format with visual examples that can be personalized (e.g., “When I’m angry, there are things I can do to feel calm again”)
A Social Script/Comic-Strip Conversation walks a student through the steps of a conversational interaction (e.g., a small-talk greeting script)
A Power Card helps to teach a desired behavior by showing or describing it being demonstrated by a character of special interest. The card can be carried by the child for empowerment when use of the behavior is needed. (e.g., sharing during a group play activity)
Zones of Regulation provide a color-coded rating scale that allows a child to identify and self monitor emotions and levels of alertness.
A video model shows a child using a positive behavioral strategy that can be used for self-reflection and review.
Free picture libraries (Google images, Quick Picks, Imagine Symbol Set)
Boardmaker Software Family (visual support builder software)
https://br.boardmakershare.com (online software and visual support sharing library)
Carrie Dunn The Incredible 5-Point Scale http://www.5pointscale.com/
Clicker 6 (Crick Software) (visual support builder software)