What are Visual Supports?

Visual supports are things such as objects, photographs, pictures & line drawings that can be used to help a person with a ASD, Language and Developmental Disorders understand what is going on around them, process information quicker and can be used as a tool to communicate needs and wants, develop new skills, make one’s own choices, follow a routine, sequencing skills and to prompt expressive language (speech) and build receptive language (understanding).

Most People with Developmental Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorders including Aspergers,  Speech and Language Developmental Disorders have enhanced visual skills, they find it difficult to process auditory information. Visual aids (pictures) are a concrete form of communication, allowing more time to process the information.

Visual supports can also be in the form of non-verbal communication such as facial expressions, hand gestures like pointing.

Who will benefit from using visual aids as a form of communication?

Visual supports can be used as a treatment for people with Autism, Asperger’s, Speech, Language and Learning Developmental Disorders, people with Down Syndrome, toddlers simply starting to speak, people with Dementia, a brain injury, Aged Care and people with English as a second language (ESL).

Confusion, anxiety and behaviour are developed from a lack of not being able to communicate needs and wants. Confusion and not being able to understand what we are doing now, what is coming next and where we are going can lead to anxiety and unwanted behaviours.

How will Visual Supports help my child communicate and interact?

Visual Aids can be used to show people what is happening around them rather than using verbal language that is often difficult to process.

People with ASD, severe language disorders and developmental delay will benefit greatly from a visual explaining what people are doing and saying. Confusion, anxiety and behaviour are developed from a lack of being able to communicate needs and wants. Confusion and not understanding what we are doing now, what is coming next and where we are going can lead to anxiety and unwanted behaviours.

Visual aids are a tool that help people make more concrete choices and understand what their choices are therefore being able to expand one’s interests, encourage them to interact and try new things.

An image can help people understand what is expected of them, create opportunities for interaction, develop new social skills, academic and understand a sequence of self care skills.

What are the different forms of visual strategies I can use?

Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS)
Choice-Boards can help people make their own choices. Generally two pictures are placed on the choice board and the person is encourage to pick which one/he or she would like to do. Choices can be made for such things as food, play & places to visit. Choice boards can be used as a prompt to encourage new activities or food, develop new skills and social interactions.
Now & Next Boards can help people understand what they are doing now and what is coming next. These boards can be used as a tool for developing “getting ready for school” skills.
Routines/Schedules is a picture sequence of a particular routine or daily/weekly schedule. These types of supports can be used to develop a daily and weekly routine at home, Preschool, Childcare, Primary & Secondary School.
Skill Sequencing is a visual sequence of activities to build new skills such as each step that is required to independently brush one’s own teeth, bath, get dressed, wash hair, toileting etc.
Hand Cards a set of visuals to carry with you to help a person register what is expected of them, for example replace a verbal “hold hands” with a picture of holding hands.

• Visual strategies can provide the support for people to develop skills to live their best life.

How do I starting using Visual Supports?

Visuals should be clear and concise with no background distractions.

It is best to start slow, look at the developmental age your child or the person you are supporting is at.

Choice making – Picture Exchange Communication Systems
To begin supporting someone to make their own choices, start with offering a choice of two pictures.

Routines & Schedules
For routines and schedules, once the activity is finished remove the card from the schedule and point/say next activity.

Weekly Schedule
Start by having one visual (picture) for that day, once the person has learnt the concept, add visuals to the rest of the days of the week.

Positive behaviour support, I want & Toileting
Keep hand cards with you at all times, each time the behaviour occurs back up the verbal instruction with a visual.

• Keep in mind, everyone is different, some people will get the concept quicker than others. Be consistent and persistent.

• All See-n-Speak Visual Resource Packages come with tips on how best to use them.

What is Autism?

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is a developmental disability that affects the way people process information. People with ASD exhibit restricted and repetitive behaviours, impaired social interactions, imagination, communication and language. Many people with ASD experience fluctuating sensory sensitives.
People with ASD often avoid eye contact, have impaired expressive and receptive language and are non-verbal or limited language.
Under the umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorders are: Asperger’s Syndrome, Pervasive Development Disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Rett syndrome.

What is a developmental delay?

A developmental delay is when a person does not meet the age appropriate developmental milestones.

Email us enquiries@seeandspeak.com.au for more information and tips on how to use visual aids at your Home, Centre, Service or School.