Archive for the ‘visual support tools’ Category

ASD approaches

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) is a pervasive developmental disorder that affects the individual’s brain; normally diagnosed in early childhood.

A diagnosis of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) is not the end of the world. The indicators of autism will vary between individuals, but generally kids with autism may display communication difficulties, and difficulties forming friendships with other people.

Kids with autism generally find it hard to make any sense of their environment. Often referred to as “Autism Own World”.

Research shows that in some kids with autism indicators may not present themselves until the child is between 1 -2 years of age.

What is autism? Here is a list of some of the possible indicators you may have noticed in your ASD child:

  • An ASD child may lack of the ability to direct others attention to what they want or need. Unlike a normally developing child, who will point or gesture towards the object in question.
  • Kids with autism rarely adjust their gaze to look at objects, and lack the inclination to look at something they are being directed towards.
  • An ASD child may have communication difficulties and find sustaining or beginning conversations difficult.
  • Sometimes kids with autism will be slow developing speech and sometimes speech may never actually begin.
  • They may engage in repetitive behaviours…for example repeating a TV commercial or rhyme etc.
  • They may confuse simple language terms, and use language in the wrong context, for example they may refer to themselves by name in a conversation or sentence, not by saying “I”; i.e. rather than saying “can I have a biscuit”, they may say “Ben wants a biscuit” and so on…
  • On occasions an autistic child may prefer to communicate by gesture rather than using speech.

Children with autism tend to prefer to be alone and find maintaining and indeed starting friendships with peers difficult. Children with autism and autistic people in general have difficulties in making eye contact which can make encounters difficult

An autistic child will struggle with interactive games and pretend play, failing to see what the point of the activity or game is.



Autism what is it? Understanding your ASD child and forming appropriate ASD approaches is very important and will make the difference in helping your autistic child reach his or her full potential

There are many ASD approaches to help kids with autism understand the world they live in…

One very effective way of accomplishing this is by the introduction of visual support tools such as autism social skills stories

Autism Spectrum Disorder is being diagnosed far more these days. Research into pervasive developmental disorder has suggested that using visual support tools such as autism social skills stories has impacted on the lives and families of those diagnosed with a pervasive developmental disorder such as ASD
(Autism Spectrum Disorder)

ASD approaches such as autism social skills stories are used for all situations and activities the ASD child may be confused by or struggling with, for example: Going to the dentist, the death of a loved one, a new car, brushing their hair.

For immediate download of autism social skills stories visit:

Or alternatively visit any of the following sites for more information and social stories.



Communication difficulties in child with autism

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Common to individuals with autism are social skills deficits. Having social skills deficits can make communication difficult for a child with autism.

As typical beings we communicate both verbally and non-verbally daily. Communication is a major skill, we naturally learn. For individuals with autism however the ability to communicate is affected, having ASD can make an individual react and interact in a very different manner to typically developing beings.

For a child with an ASD expressing their needs or wants, can quite often be misunderstood. For example: In the classroom; A child with autism may not typically ask for a drink when they are thirsty, they may for example snatch the drink from another person, simply take the drink without asking or maybe they will shout out etc., this is typical to autism.


Normally all adverse autistic behaviour will happen for a reason an internal or external factor, not simply out of mischief or the desire to be awkward or naughty.

Research shows us autistic children are generally visual thinkers and learners, which means they think in pictures. Therefore when teaching or caring for a child with autism it is usually best to use visual tools and supports when you are trying to get information across or tackle an adverse autistic behaviour. 


Research shows a child with autism will be less confused when the information presented to them is visual.

Understandably many teachers especially those teaching in mainstream education are little prepared to teach a child with autism. The English language is predominantly verbal, and this is the main focus in mainstream education. However with an autistic student this method of teaching is not always going to be affective.

With a poor attention span and communication difficulties with both verbal and non-verbal communication the autistic student may struggle with lessons which are primarily verbal or written.

A lack social skills and communication difficulties can make it problematic for autistic children to make and maintain friendships, and generally “fit in” socially.

Using visual support tools for autism such as social stories; WILL help to improve communication difficulties in a child with autism.

Using visual supports tools for autism within the classroom and at home can help the child with an ASD focus on the skill or situation that they are struggling with. A social skills story can show the child with an ASD a visual step by step plan or framework of what is expected of them and what they can expect from others.

The social skills story answers the “wh” questions (who, where, when, why and what) helping the autistic child feel more comfortable with and in the situation.

Developed almost twenty years ago by therapist Carol Gray to help her communicate with the autistic children she was working with, the social story has now evolved into a significant tool used by parents and teachers to help them improve communication difficulties and social skills in their child with autism.

To find out more about social stories and how they help improve communication difficulties in a child with autism visit:

Other sites offering social stories to improve social and communication skills for the autistic student can be found at:

Visual strategies for improving communication in autism

Monday, July 26th, 2010

What are visual strategies?

Visual strategies are things we see.

Facial and body movements, gestures, pictures, images and objects, environmental cues and written language these are all used as visual strategies that help support our communication. The world we live in is full of visual information such as a calendar, diary, clocks, signs, logos and so on all of which are used by us daily and support our communication. Without these visual strategies our lives would be confusing.


One of the major difficulties faced by children with autism is a lack of communication skills. A child on the spectrum will almost certainly have deficits with social interactions, communication skills and imagination skills.


A lack of communication skills is a problem faced by all children with autism and is normally the main reason the child on the spectrum finds difficulties with social interactions, communication, and imagination, language, in the classroom and in their behaviours.


Continuous research is undertaken into the causes and treatments for autism with conclusive results showing visual strategies for improving communication in autism help increase the understanding, social interaction and communication skills and behaviours of those on the spectrum.


Generally an individual on the spectrum will be a visual thinker and learner, which means that the individual on the spectrum will think in pictures and images, and will therefore respond and understand information easier, when it is presented visually rather than written or oral.


Therefore it is important that when teaching an individual on the spectrum communication skills the treatments for autism chosen for teaching be visually presented, using visual strategies.


Visual strategies for improving communication in autism such as social stories, PECS, flash cards, visual schedules etc can all be used as appropriate and effective methods for teaching an individual on the spectrum communication skills.

For children with autism it is not just the struggle with using language that hinders them but also understanding language and communication can be a difficulty. Children with autism lack the ability to understand the communication of others, trying to figure out what is happening or not happening, handling changes and transitions, and interpreting cues and signals in the environment can prove difficult and result in frustration and behaviour that is seen as negative.


Using visual support tools can help to increase the autistic child to understand what’s happening around them and why it is happening. Visual support tools are a good structure that can be used to help support and teach an individual autistic child daily and not so common tasks, behaviours and skills.

Social stories are visual strategies for improving communication in autism, and are regarded as one of the major visual support tools used today for individuals with autism, they can be used for a variety of issues, they can be edited to suit individual needs and levels of development, social stories are printable for ease of use and convenience and can be implemented quickly and effectively.


To learn more about how implementing social stories can help you teach social and communication skills and behaviours to your child with autism visit:

Alternatively other sites which offer downloads and explanations of and uses for social stories, and how implementing social stories for your child with autism can help are located at: 

Autistic children in preschool

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Many parents of autistic children feel confused and helpless wondering how to communicate with their child and ensure their child has the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Research does suggest early intervention strategies for autistic children are beneficial, and that enrollment for autistic children in preschool can also help the child.


Your G.P. will be able to point you in the right direction with regard to early intervention strategies for autistic children.


Many parents of autistic children opt to place their child in mainstream preschool.  It is always a good idea to make an appointment to visit the preschool and discuss your child with the teacher to ensure she is aware of what autism is and that appropriate provisions are in place before your child begins.

If you are the teacher of an inclusive preschool a good place for you to start will be with the introduction of appropriate visual support tools for preschool children with autism. 

There are many visual support tools available today, with PECS, flash cards and social stories being among the most significant visual support tools for preschool children with autism that are available to you. All of which can now be sourced directly from the internet, as well as from OT and the speech therapist.


Using visual support tools for preschool children with autism do not need any form of formal training, sites offering good support and visual tools can be visited at:


Personally we recommend the use of both flash cards and social stories combined. By placing visual supports like flash cards around the preschool you can help the preschool autistic infant quickly identify certain areas, for example a picture of the toilet above the bathroom allows the child to find the toilet without causing the stress and anxiety. This is repeated around preschool in areas the child will need to identify like the pencil tray, sink, coast pegs etc.


Social stories for the preschool autistic infant are short descriptive visual scripts used as a tool to teach and improve social and communication skills. The preschool autistic infant may have difficulties interacting in play, or understanding make believe, ask for a drink etc. A social story will help the child address these difficulties.


Social stories are much like a comic strip showing the skill or behavior in visual images with age appropriate text always in first person and from the child’s point of view.


To find out more about social stories for the preschool autistic infant visit: