What are Visual Strategies for Autism?

What are Visual Strategies for Autism?

Visual strategies are important tools for individuals with autism. Visual Strategies are things that we see. Body movements, environmental cues, pictures, objects and written language can all be used to support communication. Our environment is full of signs and logos and objects and other visual information that supports communication.

In addition, we can create our own specially designed visual tools to help meet specific communication needs for those on the autism spectrum. Using visual schedules, choice boards, tools to give information, tools to manage behavior and lots of other visual strategies can make a significant difference in the ability of a student with autism to participate successfully in school and home routines.

Visual Strategies for Improving Communication is a “how to” book that will show you exactly what to do and how to do it. The strategies work for students who have an autism diagnosis but also for other students with other special learning needs.

We call them visual strategies, visual supports or visual tools. Sometimes we refer to visually supported communication. What these terms mean is that we are using something visual to help individuals understand communication better.

Visual strategies help individuals in many ways.

  • We use visual strategies to help us communicate information TO individuals.
  • Visual tools help students organize their thinking.
  • Visual supports are used to give choices or communicate rules.
  • One of the most important uses for visual strategies is to give information such as what is happening, what is not happening, what is changing, etc.

You can create visual tools to give students the information they need to help them participate successfully in all the routines and activities in their lives.

There are lots of options. Schedules and calendars are the most common visual tools used to give students information. Step-by-step directions, choice boards, and classroom rules provide structure in classrooms. They help students by creating an environment that is more predictable and understandable.

Using visually supported communication is an extremely helpful approach for students with communication and behavior challenges. Visual strategies help students learn effective communication, appropriate social interaction, and positive behavior. Many people use a few visual tools with students. Few people explore all the possibilities.

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