In my previous blog; Why Hunting Orange has Visual supports, I touched this subject a bit. To read this please go to https://mozahimidauthor.com/why-hunting-orange-has-visual-supports/

So, what are Visual Supports?

Visual supports are visual items used to support communication.

We all rely on visual supports throughout our everyday lives from the use of road signs, priority seating signs on public transport, fire exits, toilet signs, calendars to instructions about how to assemble a furniture or a new toy.

Imagine you are very fluent in certain language because it’s your mother tongue.  You decide to travel to a foreign country for the first time.  When you reach at the airport, you get confused as you don’t know the language.  Luckily there are visual supports such as symbols/signs that can at least direct you there.  You then decide to take a local taxi and can follow the signs to a taxi point, but how do you converse with the driver? You can either take out a physical dictionary or use your phone and start to think which word to use.

Children with autism are like us in the above situation.  They don’t understand our languages, facial expressions and how we interact with one another, and they can get really frustrated because we don’t understand them.

Children with autism (ASD) benefit more from visual supports as they are visual learners, which means they can process what they see better than what they hear.

Examples of Visual Supports:

Below are few examples of visual supports:

  • Symbols
  • Coloured pictures
  • Photographs
  • Written words

The importance of Visual Supports for Autistic Children

  • Communication Skills: Many autistic children have difficulties with verbal communication.  Visual supports such as symbols or pictures offer alternative ways to express their needs, feelings and choices, which reduce frustration.
  • Promoting Independence: Visual supports empower autistic children to become more independent by providing them with the tools and information they need throughout their daily routines and activities.
  • Academic performance: Visual supports enhance the academic performance of autistic children.  These tools help children better understand and follow instructions, which support them in their lessons.
  • Social Interaction: Visual supports enhance social interaction in autistic children.  For example, social stories help children understand social situations and appropriate behaviours leading to improved social skills and peer interactions.
  • Reducing Anxiety: Visual support such as visual schedule provides predictability, and by knowing what is coming significantly reduces anxiety in autistic children.

By incorporating visual supports into the learning and daily routines of autistic children, we can empower them to thrive and reach their full potential.