Useful tips supporting adults with a disability

In Australia, a generation of adults living with a disability are now being offered more supports than ever before.

Some of this generation of people have not received any early intervention in the past.

Women and men still living at home with their parents  or in shared accommodation (group homes) are being supported to access the Community and build skills towards independent living.

People living with a disability have more choice and control over their own lives.

A common trait amongst most adults living with a disability, Autism in particular is: ROUTINE.

People like routine and some routines have been in place for many, many years.

Whilst getting more supports and having more access to the Community is great, for some, it is change to their routine and this change can cause anxiety, confusion, leading to behaviours.

 5 Areas to consider when supporting adults with a disability


  • Spend some time getting to know how a person likes to be supported and their unique communication style.
  • When communicating with someone, always be respectful of the persons age.
  • If a person has limited language, try not to use too many words, stick to keywords and visual supports.

Changes to routine

  • With any changes, always try to prepare a person well in advance (if possible).
  • Support the person to make the change to their visual schedule.

Building structure and routine

  • Weekly and daily picture schedules are a great resource for building routine & reducing anxiety.
  • Add custom made visuals to suit the person’s needs and schedule.
  • Make sure the Schedule is individual to the persons routine and not to the routine of the house.

Anxiety and behaviours

  • Crowded Community places, Day Programs and other activities can be an overwhelming array of sensory overload.
  • Preparation is the key, attach a picture of the place visiting on the persons weekly calendar.
  • Carry some visuals of emotions with you that will support the person to communicate how they are feeling.
  • Accessing new places can be an overwhelming experience for some people, be prepared and mindful of keeping people safe on outings.

Build independence & Personal-Care skills

Personal care, adults, autism, language disability

Personal care picture sequence for adults with Autism, language disabilities

  • Be respectful,  support someone to “do with, instead of doing for”. Build independent skills, such as household tasks and personal care skills.  Task picture sequences and schedules can support someone in developing routine.

Supporting someone of any age to do for themselves, can be the most rewarding experience for all involved!

If you have found these strategies helpful, please share this post with your network.

We would love to hear your experiences, leave comments below or email us.

Till next time

Alison – Mother, Blogger, Founder See-n-Speak Picture Communication supports




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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