Posts Tagged ‘Visual schedules’

Visual supports in autism

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Individuals with autism are often described as “visual learners” or “visual thinkers.” Which means they think in pictures, consequently autism resources need to be visual.

Research suggests greater success when parents and teachers use visual supports rather than oral or written supports and resources.

Such visual supports in autism resources as social skills stories, flash cards, visual schedules, PECS system etc. 

There are many aspects of an autistic child’s environment and everyday activities which will benefit from visual supports for autism.

Using social skills stories – Social stories are word and picture-based stories, much like a comic strip conversation, written to help the child with autism understand and feel more comfortable with skills, activities, communication and social situations.

Social stories are normally written in a specific manner, from the autistic child’s point of view and always using first person text and visual images. By answering the important “wh” questions – who, where, why, when and what as well as giving an insight into how other people may feel or think.

Using visual schedules – Visual schedules are a set of pictures that communicate a series of activities or the steps of a specific activity. A visual schedule can help the child with autism understand and manage their daily activities, which reduces stress and anxiety.

Using visual supports in autism such as flash cards – A common problem for children with autism spectrum disorder is their ability to communicate. Flash cards are a strategy which can help to increase vocabulary, promote language development, and strengthen communication skills when teaching.

All of these strategies are useful for individuals with autism and related conditions.

To learn more about how social skills stories can benefit your child with an ASD and gain immediate downloads of social stories for autistic children visit:

Where you will find a selection of social skills stories for autistic children and young people

To learn more about visual supports in autism such as flash cards and visual schedules visit:

Where you will find a selection of flash cards available for visual schedules and as communication aids for ASD children


Other visual supports in autism can be found at:



Autism teaching aids and visual strategies

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

For children on the spectrum a lack of social and communication skills is common. Due to social skills deficits many children on the spectrum find the world confusing and stressful a lack of appropriate communication skills can mean a lack of friendships and in some cases bullying and isolation.


And for many parents teaching social and communication skills to their autistic child can become a primary focus.


Children with autism like structure and routines and can become frustrated and anxious when routines change, they dislike surprises and may display obsessive behaviours which can make the child appear odd or weird.

Consequently, because of these social skills deficits many parents and teachers struggle to find appropriate techniques and autism teaching aids that are easy to implement and suitable.

It is a fact that the majority of children on the spectrum are visual thinkers and learners and will therefore respond better to visual strategies; such as a visual schedule, social skills stories, flash cards, PECS communication symbols and so on.


A visual strategy can be implemented to suit the individual needs of the autistic child. Many parents and teachers use a combination of visual strategies, all of which compliment each other.


No two autistic children will ever be the same and what works for one autistic child may not be suitable for another.

That said, the vast majority of autistic children use social skills stories as primary autism teaching aids to help them better cope with daily tasks and activities as well as the not so common activities and tasks.


Parents do not need any formal training or previous knowledge to use Autism teaching aids and visual strategies.

A visual strategy such as social skills stories can be used to help the autistic child learn social and communication skills that they may be struggling to master, like for example making friends, asking questions, respecting personal space, or less common activities such as going for a dental visit, visiting grand parents, a birthday party and so on.

For children with autism understanding our world is difficult, therefore addressing any anxieties they may have can help cut down on anxiety attacks, melt downs and negative behaviours.


Introducing a visual schedule will benefit your child, a visual schedule gives the child on the spectrum a step by step framework of the day’s activities using simple pictures or images, reducing surprises and giving routine to the day.

Social skills stories break down the activity or skill into small easier to understand pieces. Using visual images and pictures the social skills stories are visual strategies that show the child on the spectrum by answering the “wh” question – who, where, why, when and what, it will also give the child on the spectrum an insight into the thoughts and feelings of others why and how we undertake certain activities for example brushing our teeth, washing our hands, raising our hand to speak, recess and so on.

Flash cards and PECS communication symbols are visual strategies that can be used effectively with both verbal and nonverbal autistic children. They are universally used for visual schedules to accompany social skills stories, on now and next boards, mini visual schedules, choosing boards and as autism teaching aids.

Flash cards are small laminated pieces of card showing an image or picture some flash cards will also have a small piece of text saying what the picture is of for example, coat, toilet, pencil etc. The idea being the PECS communication symbols or flash cards be used to communicate with the child on the spectrum, they are used in various ways and settings.

For more information on autism teaching aids and visual strategies visit:

For social skills stories which can be downloaded immediately go to:


For flash cards and communication symbols which can be used in a variety of ways such as on visual schedules or on their own as a means of communication visit:




Visual schedules for autism

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Using autism tools such as visual schedules for autism is beneficial. A visual schedule is a set of pictures or images that show visually, like a step by step plan a series of activities or the specific steps of an activity. The visual schedule does this by showing the child on the spectrum what activities will occur and in what sequence.


To make a visual schedule you will need a set of pictures or images that can be used and a piece of laminated card or board that the images or pictures can be attached to. Appropriate pictures or images can be acquired from sites such as


Much like a social skills story, visual schedules for autism provide the child on the spectrum with positive cues allowing them to predict what is happening and what is about to happen which removes anxieties.

Using appropriate images or pictures a visual schedule gives the child with autism a step by step framework for the day. Children with autism do not like surprises and rigidly stick to routines. Visual schedules are excellent autism tools, for removing anxieties and setting routine and structure to the day.

Generally children with autism are visual thinkers and learners and will respond well to visual information. Another excellent resource recommended for use with children with autism and visual schedules is the social skills story.


For example many children with autism struggle with even simple tasks like asking questions, class discussions, using the toilet, hygiene, recess and so on. Anxieties can still occur even if you are using visual schedules for autism. If the child with autism is unsure how to perform a task or activity on the schedule they may become confused and anxious, this is where a social skills story will help.


Again visually rich a social skills story can show using a specific style and formula how the child on the spectrum should act and why. By using visual images a social skills story sets out the task, skill or activity by breaking it down into small understandable steps; the visual cues allowing the child with autism to understand the “wh” questions – who, where, why, when and what removing stress and confusion.


For many children with autism communication can be tricky, this is common to autism, social skills stories predict the reaction and suggest possible responses the child with autism may consider making.

For example: many children with autism have difficulties with activities such as visiting the dentist. Parents suggest in recent surveys using social skills stories allows their child to rehears the visit by reading through the story. Therefore once at the dentist the child with autism is not stressed they will understand what is happening and what is expected of them, they will also understand why the dentist will want to look into their mouth and what they should do, for example sitting in the chair, the lights will be bright etc.


Now the child is prepared using visual schedules for autism your child can see a dental visit is happening and by reading the social story your child will not be anxious about this upcoming event.

By giving your child with autism and visual schedules and social skills stories you’re using autism tools that are specifically designed to help individuals on the spectrum cope with daily activities and changes to routines successfully.


All individuals on the spectrum will benefit for autism tools such as visual schedules and social skills stories.


To download social skills stories visit:

To accquire images and pictures that can be used on any visual schedules or as flash or PECS cards visit: