Visual tips to help people choose what they want to eat

I want to share with you some visual support strategies on how to best use a choice-board to support a person to have choice and control over their own lives.

People with a disability in particular people with Autism Spectrum Disorders have difficulty processing auditory information, having to make their own choice, can sometimes be overwhelming.

A visual (photograph) is a concrete form of communication and allows the person to make their correct own choice and understand what is expected.

For this exercise, we are using photographs and supporting a person to make a choice of what they want to eat.

The choice is between a cereal or toast for breakfast.

Visual tips on using a choice board:

  • On a choice board attach two photographs to choose from, any more than this, can be overwhelming.
  • The object in the photograph needs to be clear without background distractions.
  • Place a photograph of a food, you know the person likes to eat and something they don’t like to eat.
    For example, if you know the person likes to eat toast and does not like a cereal.  You can use this method to expand one’s diet.
  • Support the person to point to the photograph they would like. Be patient, allow the person to process what is being asked of them.
  • Use keywords only, refrain from using too many words.  For example, if the person points to a toast say “toast” only. Encourage the person to repeat the word, “toast” after you, effectively teaching the labels of foods.
  • Once pointing has been established, encourage the person to take the photograph off the choice board and hand it to you. Exchanging pictures as a form of communication.
  • Bring the chosen photograph up to your eye level to prompt eye gazing.
  • Use the written word, Yes or No as a visual prompt to support the person to confirm what they want.
  • Be consistent and persistent, everyone is different and some people take longer than others to understand the process of making a decision.
Food visual Choice Board for decision making

Food Choice Folder

Click here for more visual strategies.

Till next time




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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