EXAMPLES OF ADDING VISUAL STRUCTURE
When using visuals use a child/young person's strengths and interests as motivators.
Visuals support communication. They can help to provide structure and routine, improve understanding, avoid frustration, help regulate emotions and offer opportunities to interact with others.
For more information on the importance of how and why we use visuals when supporting your autistic children/young people click on
Teacher, Masters Special Education, Author, Speaker
Sue Larkey is a highly qualified educator who has taught students with autism spectrum disorder in the mainstream and special schools. She combines practical experience with extensive research having completed a Masters in Special Education and currently undertaking a Doctorate in Education. Winner of Naturally Autistic 2013 International Award for Community Contribution. Sue has authored many books on autism spectrum disorders. She believes that armed with the tools of understanding and confidence, much can be achieved.
First and then to show what is happening. Then could be a reward/motivator.
A simple top-down visual schedule showing the whole school day.
You could cover or remove sections as they are completed to show the day getting shorter.
These are more complex visual schedule for those that can match times with a clock. Again cover or remove to show finished.
Visuals can be sequenced to promote independence so that the child/young person can move independently onto the next step. It would be useful to cover or remove steps as they are completed so the child/young person can easily refer back to what is next.
A task list for within a routine. The ticks are moved over as the tasks are completed. This could easily be adapted to mark off with a pen or be a simple written list for those reading at that level.
Setting up a learning space-physical structure
A learning space or workstation needs to be a defined area, free of clutter. The layout of furniture and equipment should give clues as to what is happening and what is expected. This picture indicates the child/young person will be working independently.
Here is a workstation showing the use of the TEACCH approach. Tasks to be completed are in the green tray, when they are completed, they move to the red tray to show "finished". There could be one task in the tray or several depending on the child/young person's needs. This could be used alongside First/Then so once the task/s are completed, there is a reward/motivator for completion.
Sand timers can be very powerful. Open-ended tasks can be more difficult to start as our children/young people are not sure of the expectation of how long to work for. Timers can support here-you work until the timer is finished. They can also be useful to forewarn of a transition point so they can prepare to stop a task or activity particularly if what they are doing is more preferable.
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