Benefits of Using Visual Supports

Visual supports are essential tools in enhancing communication, promoting independence, and reducing anxiety in children. They provide a visual representation of information, making it easier for children to understand and convey their thoughts, needs, and emotions. This article will discuss the benefits of using visual supports, the different types of visual supports, and how to effectively implement them.

Enhanced Communication: Visual supports offer a way for children to communicate their thoughts, preferences, and needs more effectively.

Promotes Independence: Visual supports encourage children to become more independent in their daily lives. By providing clear information, visual supports help children navigate their environment, follow routines, and complete tasks with greater confidence.

Reduces Anxiety and Over stimulation: Visual supports can help prevent sensory overload and anxiety in overwhelming or unpredictable situations. They can also be used to prepare children for new or unfamiliar experiences, allowing them to be better prepared to navigate challenging situations.

Types of Visual Supports

There are several types of visual supports that can be used with children:

  • Choice Board: A choice board is a visual representation of options that a child can choose from. This can include activities, snacks, or even different ways to communicate (e.g., talking, pointing, sign language).
  • Visual Schedule: A visual schedule provides a clear outline of the child’s daily routine, showing what activities they will be doing and when. This can be especially helpful during transitions or when preparing for new or unfamiliar experiences.
  • First-Then Boards: These boards are a visual representation of two sequential activities or tasks. The child can see what they need to do first and what they can do after.
  • Communication Board: A communication board is a visual representation of common words or phrases that a child can point to when they want to communicate something. This can be particularly useful for children who have difficulty with expressive language.

Implementing Visual Supports

When using visual supports, it’s important to:

  • Place the visual supports in a location that is easy for the child to see and access.
  • Introduce the visual schedule gradually, starting with 2 or 3 activities.
  • Minimize verbal instructions when teaching to use the visual supports.
  • Be consistent with the visuals, using them during transitions and other appropriate times.
  • Provide positive reinforcement when the child follows and completes routines independently.

In conclusion, visual supports can be a game-changer in helping children communicate, become more independent, and reduce anxiety. By understanding the benefits and types of visual supports, and how to effectively implement them, you can provide a child.

Alicia Tucker, a Special Education Advocate with 26 years of experience, will share her expertise in managing classroom behaviors and building trust with students.