Frequently Asked Questions

What is Augmentative and Alternative Communication?

All forms of communication that do not involve oral speech. Different forms of AAC are facial expressions, gestures such as pointing, pictures (visual aids), sign language, and written form of communication. AAC is designed to prompt communication without hindering the development of natural speech.

What are Visual Supports?

Visual supports are an augmentative and alternative communication approach for people with limited, no language or difficulty processing verbal information.

Visuals are things such as objects, photographs, pictures & line drawings that can be used to help a person with an ASD, Language and Developmental Disorders understand what is going on around them, process information quicker and can be used as a picture exchange communication tool to prompt choice-making and express needs and wants.

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

Many people with a disability in particular people with Autism and Asperger’s have enhanced visual skills and difficulty processing verbal information. Visuals supports are a treatment for Autism and language disorders.

Small children, people with language & learning developmental disorder s, Down Syndrome, Attention Deficit Disorders, People with English as a second language and Dementia will all benefit from using visuals (pictures) as a tool for communication exchange and building receptive and expressive language.

My child won’t speak, how can I help?

There are many reasons why a child won’t speak or is slow to develop language, a health professional should be consulted if your child is not reaching appropriate milestones.

Visuals can be used for people that don’t speak or understand verbal information. They are non-transient, allow the person to process information, augmenting communication without hindering the development of natural speech. Used to prompt interaction, learn new independence, social and academic skills, transition from one activity to another and develop structure to their day.

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

 • Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS) - Exchanging pictures is a concrete form of alternative communication. Exchanging pictures can help people express their needs, wants and make their own choices. Choice-Boards are a tool for people to use to make a choice and communicate needs and wants.

Routines - a sequence of visual activities or routines attached to a Now & Next Board allow people to transition through each activity.

• Schedules & Timetables – Can be used to explain what is happening on any particular day/week. Daily schedule gives structure to one’s day. Allow people time to process what they are doing now and what they are doing next.

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.

Behaviour supports – Visuals can be used to prompt good behaviour, understand emotions and feelings, instructions and when an activity is finished. Portable hand cards are best to use at home and in the Community.

How do I start using Visual Supports?

You should determine what type of visual best suits that particular person and where they are at developmentally. Visuals should be clear and concise with no background distractions. It is best to start slow, look at the developmental age of your child or the person you are supporting and be consistent and persistent.

Choice making – Picture Exchange Communication Systems

To begin supporting someone to make their own choices, start with offering a choice of two pictures. You can start with play activities or
food choices.

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 cue.

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

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 the NDIS?

The NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) is an insurance scheme that provides supports for people with a disability.

What is a developmental delay?

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

Email us [email protected] for more information and tips on how to use visual aids at your Home, Centre, Service or School.

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