Show, don't tell!

Visuals are all around us (e.g. calendars, toilet signs, shopping lists). Visual strategies can be used to help children, especially children with language difficulties, to understand what we are telling them. 

 

Visuals are all around us (e.g. calendars, toilet signs, shopping lists). Visual strategies can be used to help children, especially children with language difficulties, to understand what we are telling them. 

Why is it important to use visuals?

  • Research shows that visuals offer support to children with language difficulties.
  • Visual strategies are used to help students understand better.
  • Support what we are telling them.
  • Help students comprehend more about what is happening in their lives.
  • Provide a way to help with memory and organising thinking.
  • Sometimes seeing the information can be just as helpful as hearing the information.

More reasons to use visuals.

  • They are permanent.
  • They allow time for language processing.
  • They prepare for transitions (e.g., first…then).
  • They help children see what you mean because they show clearly what is expected.
  • They support all students, not just those with communication difficulties.
  • They promote independence.
  • They are transferrable between environments and people (e.g., home and school).
  • They have no attitude – no frustration, no tone, no disapproval.

There are many types visual supports, including:

  • real objects.
  • photographs.
  • natural gestures or signs.
  • written words.
  • pictures or symbols.
  • specially designed visual supports (e.g., communication boards, visual schedules).

How do I use these visuals?

To develop independence in routines you can use a visual schedule. A visual schedule uses pictures or objects to represent each step of a routine, for example, handwashing routine. You can download free visuals here: 

http://www.livingwellwithautism.com/how_to_use_picture_cards_and_schedules/self_care_visual_helpers

Here are some important tips when using visuals.

  • Always pair visuals with speech.
  • Make sure visuals are accessible.
  • Persevere. Your child may need to be shown many times before they can make the connection between the visual and the real object.
  • Always print the name of the visual to ensure consistent language.

How can we help?

Because there are many different types of visual supports, we can work closely together with you to develop visual supports that are at your child’s level. We can show you how to use these visual strategies to support your child’s learning and language development.

By Charlotte Lau
info@speechinfocus.com.au
02 8065 1197

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