Behaviour & safety tips, when accessing the Community

Is your child a runner or do you worry about the safety of the person you are supporting safety? Here I share some of my behaviour support strategies I used when accessing the Community.

I think of all the times when I would pull up in our car, at our destination and I would say, till I was blue in the face, “hold hands” when instead, my son, followed by his little sister, would run.  I would be this crazy mother, frantic to keep them safe. I am sure at some point most of you reading this, could relate.

What I was starting to notice is, that combined with a language disorder and the added stimuli in the environment, oral communication meant nothing, it was as though my words when in one ear and straight out the other.

This is when we started to use pictures to back our oral language.

Some people with Autism, language and learning developmental disorders, toddlers, english as a second language and have Dementia have difficulty auditory information.

We used positive behaviour and social cues visual supports when in the Community to keep us safe from danger, reinforce safety, prompt acceptable behaviour and social skills.

Behaviour & Social Cue cards

I would keep a set of picture cards that depict acceptable behaviour and social cues in my pocket and an extra set in the car.

Here are some examples of the visual cue cards I used when out in the community.

Positive Behaviour Cue – Hold Hands

Before getting out of the car, I would show my child a picture of two people holding hands and say “hold hands”, when we got out of the car I would repeat this step of showing the visual and backed this up with a verbal cue.

behaviour and social visual communication supports

Positive Behaviour Cue – Finished

A visual of the finish symbol, 5 minutes before leaving the park, party, shopping centre etc, I would again show the finish visual backed with my verbal cue finish, when it was time to leave, I would repeat the visual and verbal cue to finish, we are leaving.

communication aids behaviour and social cues

Positive behaviour cue – No Running

I am sure you can agree and relate, there are many times fearing for their safety, you have chased after your children after they have run off. For me,  screaming “no running” really meant nothing all I got was smiles on their faces as they continued to run, oblivious to the danger. Ideally, before they take off, you can use keywords, “no running” at the same time, show an image of a person running with the no symbol through it.

Safety behaviour communication supports

Visual Supports are a concrete form of communication and are a vital tool to have with you, to prompt a faster registration of what the person needs to do to keep safe and behave when accessing the Community.

Click here for more on Behaviour and Social skills visual cue cards and their benefits.

Till next time


Mother, Blogger, Founder – See-n-Speak


Alison Mooney

I am a mother first, Blogger and Founder of See-n-Speak Communication Picture Exchange resources for people with a Disability. Sharing our resources and knowledge successfully using picture exchange as a form of communication with our child.

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