Generally children with autism are visual thinkers; which means they think in pictures. Therefore, the most successful ways to help children with autism learn and understand the information they are given is through visual supports and aids.
Many teachers and parents of children with ASD report negative behaviours and frustrations felt and displayed by children with autism when information is difficult to understand, such as written or oral instruction etc, rather than visual.
For many children with autism spoken words are not easy to comprehend, much like listening to a foreign language, which can be frustrating and stressful this can lead to meltdowns and the child generally just “switching off”
Consequently, it has been found that when attempting to teach or convey information to a child with ASD, using visual supports for children with autism is beneficial. Avoiding long spoken sentences or pieces of text with no illustration is advisable for most children with ASD.
Visual supports for children with autism are generally used to help support oral commands and information, for example visual support cards can be used to help show a child with autism the toilet, coat peg, library and so on..
The most significant visual supports for children with autism spectrum disorder and related conditions are visual support cards or (
By using visual support cards it allows the child with ASD to focus on the message being taught or the information being presented.
In the classroom teachers of students with autism use visual supports cards to help the student with ASD organize their day for example on a visual timetable. The student with ASD will like repetition and sameness, a visual timetable can help achieve this, the student can easily identify what lesson is coming up next, what they need to do, where they need to be etc.
Also in the classroom teachers of students with autism use visual supports cards to show direction and information. For example many teachers of students with autism place visual support aids on the pencil draw, the bathroom, sink and so on to help the student with ASD identify easily where things are, this can save a lot of confusion and stress not only for the teacher but also the student themselves.
In the home parents of children with ASD and related conditions use visual supports aids around the home again on a visual timetable, helping the child identify mealtimes, bath time, time for school and so on.
In the home parents of children with ASD and related conditions use visual aids to help the child identify certain areas, things, objects etc, for example the toilet, sink, where the cups are stored and so on.
Visual supports for children with autism spectrum disorder are also used to help the child with ASD learn social and communication skills, for example brushing your teeth, hair and so on. Used as a strategy visual supports can be used with social stories affectively to teach skills, communication and behaviours. Many parents of ASD children find used as a strategy visual supports and social stories are beneficial and both are recommended to help all children with ASD learn appropriate social and communication skills and behaviours.
To learn more and see examples of visual supports for children with ASD and related conditions visit:
Social stories that help can be instantly downloaded from: