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Before we begin, let’s talk about ourselves and how often we use visual supports before we talk about the benefits of them for kids. Can anyone imagine going into a day without your phone, diary, to do lists, maps when driving, reminders, etc. The list is endless. These are all forms of visual supports. These reduce stress and anxiety for us and also ensure and help us complete different tasks.
There are different types of visual supports including supports such as daily schedules, choice boards, first then schedules and many more. For this blogpost, we are going to be mainly referring to visuals your child can use to communicate their needs. Often times, when we introduce these or talk about introducing these, some people express concern over whether they will prevent the child from using language or learning language and the answer is No. They will not prevent a child learning language or using language, they actually do the opposite in that they promote and expose the child to language.
If a child has communication difficulties, this will allow them to have a means of communication which is so important to allow them to communicate needs and wants and also to reduce any frustration. It is good to begin by choosing items you know your child is going to want and take pictures of these. You can use preferred foods, drinks, toys or whatever your child likes and enjoys. Having visuals in place allows your child to learn how to communicate and the power of communication. Each time they request, you can model the name of the item they are requesting so they are hearing the word each time they request.
Ways you can use these:
You can really provide choice across lots of things in the day and they are a great tool to allow your child to have a say in their day when they may not yet have the language to do so.