Ways visual supports can help with a change to routine

Visual supports are a tool, people with Autism or people with language and learning disorders,  can use a way of communicating.

A person can use the picture to say what they want or need and to understand what is happening around them.

Visuals can help with understanding the change to routine around school holidays and the closure of day program activities.

People young and old with a disability, can find a change to routine extremely difficult, often around this disruption to routine, we see a rise in anxiety and behaviours.

Behaviours and anxiety can place stress not only on the person, but the whole family or people who are supporting them.

Autism confusion anxious behaviours

Setting up visual support systems at home during this time of uncertainty, will reduce confusion and meltdowns.

People start to become calmer and not so afraid.

It makes sense, that someone who has difficulty process verbal information, can still learn and develop by seeing a picture used for language and learning

I will always remember this phrase, ” A picture tells a thousand words” – Temple Grandin.

Visuals can:

  •  support a person to prepare and process change to their daily/weekly routine.
  •  prompt speech.
  • forewarn of upcoming activities or outings and help with transitioning from one activity to another.
  • help develop structure and routine to the persons day.
  • prompt interaction and communication
  • give a person choice and control over their life.
  • build a persons confidence and self esteem.
  • support a person when out in the Community to develop the necessary skills needed when in public.

The above are only some of the benefits visuals can make to the life of a person with limited speech.

Here is how to set up visual communication systems at home

People love routine

Developing a picture routine for the weeks activities.

Clear pictures showing what the person is doing each day of the week.

People can literally see what is going to happen during the week, reducing anxiety.

Place the routine on the back of the door or wall.

Weekly Picture Schedule autism language learning

Supporting people to become independent

Daily task routine

Developing a picture task routine for the day.

A picture sequence of daily routine tasks such as the steps to getting ready in the morning, brushing teeth etc.

This will also build personal care skills for independent living.

Choice, Choice, Choice

Use pictures to encourage people to make their own choice of activity and what they want to eat.

Offer a range of different picture community access activities such as going to the movies or beach.

Start by giving the person a choice of two activities, help them make the choice.

Place the chosen activity on the weekly and daily picture routines.

Interact and play

A picture exchange system of different activities you can do together during the day, such as playing a board game or riding a bike.

This system will support the person to make their own choice of what activity they would like to do.

A resource to prompt sharing and interacting with others.

The reward system below will encourage the person to try something new or do something they wouldn’t usually choose.

Autism PECS activity play social skills

Appropriate behaviour

A visual resource of images showing acceptable behaviour are visual cues  for people on how to learn how behave, socialise and stay safe. at home and in the Community.

Make sure the visual cues are handy, keep picture cards in your pocket.

autism behaviour visual supports


There are a million ways you can use visual supports to explain situations and support a person to understand the world to which they live.

Read more on our blog language & Autism visual communication strategies.

NDIS Assistive Technology Communication Aids

See-n-Speak is a registered NDIS Service Provider of Assistive Technology/Consumables Communication Aids.

We can assist you with all your visual support needs. Contact us now.

Till next time

Alison – Mother, Blogger, Founder See-n-Speak Visual Communication Aids – www.seeandspeak.com.au

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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