Visual Supports Learning Links and Templates - Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies - University of Maine (2022)

Visual Supports Learning Links and Templates

These resources are intended as a starting point to learn more about visual supports and to offer templates and suggestions to begin creating your own visual support materials. You will need a PDF viewer for some of the resources – download Adobe Reader here.

Visual Supports Checklist

TheVisual Supports Checklist (PDF) is based on a review of current literature, practical knowledge, and reported experiences from early childhood educators on the topic of visual supports. Developed by Susan Bennett-Armistead, Ph.D., University of Maine College of Education and Human Development; Bonnie Blagojevic, M.Ed., C.A.S., University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disabilities Studies; Erika Neal, M.Ed., University of Maine Farmington; and Billie Taylor, MSW, LCSW, University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disabilities Studies (June 2011, February 2016).

Take a Look! Visual Supports for Learning

In the June/July 2011 NAEYC Teaching Young Children photo essay,“Take a Look! Visual Supports for Learning,” authors Blagojevic, Logue, Bennett-Armistead, Taylor and Neal define visual supports and show how they help all children to understand rules and expectations, engage in daily routine, navigate transitions, communicate thoughts, feelings and needs, and increase independence in child care routines and activities. NAEYC is the largest professional membership association for early childhood educators.

Learning Links Sampler

ConnectABILITY – (Scroll down and click on Supported Inclusion and click “Launch”, then click on Communications, and select Visual Supports). Supported inclusion is a learning module for professionals. After launching the module, Visual Supports is a subtopic under Communications. Listen and watch workshops such as Visual Communications, access Tip Sheets, Communication Posters, and other tools.

Creating and Using Social Stories – This Head Start Center for Inclusion web page provides general information about the purpose of social stories, when to use them, how to create and use social stories and offers a variety of ready-made social stories to download and use in the classroom.

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Social Stories – This article discusses how to create and use social stories to help individuals on the autism spectrum to ‘read’ and understand social situations.

Tips and Ideas for Making Visuals to Support Young Children with Challenging Behavior (PDF) – This handout is from The Center on Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning, Vanderbilt University.

Using Social Stories to Ease Children’s Transitions (PDF) – This article shares information about what social stories are, how to create them and gives examples such as how they can be used to help toddlers during transition times.

Use Visual Strategies – Provides information regarding what visual strategies are, who benefits from them, and why they help. Explains the research behind why students with Autism Spectrum Disorder, behavior, and communication challenges benefit from visual strategies.

Using Multimedia to Promote Vocabulary Learning: Supporting English Language Learners in Inclusive Classrooms – A recent research study shows that using multimedia video in conjunction with traditional read aloud methods may improve the vocabulary growth of English language learners. An example of how to implement multimedia during classroom read-alouds is described.

Using Visual Supports with Infants and Toddlers (PDF) – Visual supports are a form of adaptation that rely on visual cues to allow infants and toddlers, and older child, to participate in activities and routines. This newsletter will take visual supports that have been used successfully in childcare centers and preschools and show how they can be used in the home with younger children.

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Visual Supports – This collection of visual supports and other resources from the Indiana Resource Center for Autism, provides examples of various strategies that can be used to support students on the autism spectrum, as well as others with and without disabilities.

Create Visual Supports

Classroom Visuals and Supports – This Head Start Center for Inclusion webpage supports teachers in the classroom by creating an ever-growing library of commonly used pictures and visual supports to help teach and support all of your students. From toys and art materials to daily schedule pictures, to even problem solving pictures and classroom certificates. The visual supports are downloadable and available to use immediately in your classroom.

ConnectABILITY Visuals EngineConnectABILITY visuals engine helps to build custom visual supports and sequences for your child. Templates are available along with images to insert (and/or you can upload and insert your own) and a place to type in a title for the image. You can print the completed sequence from the web site. It provides a list of recommended sizes and different ways visuals can be used.

Early Learning Activities & Visual Supports – The Frank Porter Graham Family Implemented TEACCH for Toddlers (FITT) project provides early learning activities and visual supports to teach toddlers with autism new skills and routines. These are highly visual activities that teach the toddler how to engage with toys (e.g., blocks, farm animals) and how to participate in play routines. The photo library provides examples of activities and visuals that FITT interventionists and parents created for their toddlers.

Hands in Autism – The Practical Tools section of the HANDS in Autism site offers information on how to create visual supports and examples on topics such as Communication Supports, Social Skills Supports, Teaching Academic Skills, Transition Supports, and Self Monitoring.

How to Use Classroom Visuals & Supports – The Head Start Center for Inclusion offers a library of visual supports for teachers to use with children in the classroom. Look for illustrations of toys, art materials, daily schedule pictures, problem solving cue cards, and classroom certificates, to name just a few. Each one can be downloaded and printed out for immediate use.

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How to Use a First/Then Schedule – Mrs. Tabatha explains in a 4-minute YouTube video how to use a First/Then schedule with your child.

Making a Scripted Story for Early childhood Education and Care Environments (PDF)Scripted stories are a great tool to support a child who has difficulty in a routine or activity. Scripted stories can help a child understand what to expect during the activity or routine, understand the expectations and perspectives of others, and provide instructions about what to do. From the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations.

Picto-Selector – This is a free tool for creating visual schedules which you download to either a Windows or Mac computer. It is used by many teachers and parents. There are also reports of people using it in daycare of elderly people. Picto-Selector makes creating visual schedules easier by: 1) Fast search options to find the needed pictures; 2) Automatic sizes, depending on the number of rows and columns; and 3) Reuse of earlier created schedules.

Picture Supports for Emergency Drills – Success Box – Picture card sets for five main emergency drills: Fire Drill, Bus Evacuation Drill, Tornado Drill, Lockdown Drill and School Evacuation Walk to Another School. These sets can be directly downloaded for printing or they can serve as examples from which you can create your own personalized sets with Boardmaker.

resourceSETresourceSET is a collection of downloadable visual supports that can be used by students for both receptive and expressive communication in the classroom, at home, and in the community. This searchable database allows you to find a wide range of useful visual supports for different curriculum areas, activities, and events. The collection involves all areas of study and is available to download.

Scripted Stories (video) – kit (Kids Included Together Online Learning Center) created this 6 minute video about writing Scripted Stories (also known as Social Stories).

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Social Stories – The Head Start Center for Inclusion (HSCI) offers a library of one-page Social Stories™ that can be downloaded, printed out, and customized for immediate use. Teachers and parents may also use these as a template to write their own stories that meet a child’s individual needs.

Social stories and comic strip conversations – Social stories™ and comic strip conversations are ways to help people with autism develop greater social understanding. Here, you will learn a bit more about these two techniques and how you can produce your own.

Teacher Tools: Classroom Visuals and Support – This Head Start Center for Inclusion web page supports teachers to include children with disabilities more naturally in the classroom. These tools are designed to be able to print and go with quick and easy explanations. The ever-growing library of commonly used pictures and visual supports include templates that can be downloaded to use immediately to support children to learn how to problem solve, follow the daily schedule and make friends.cla

Teaching Strategies: Using a Visual Schedule [Video] –Preschool teacher Patricia Lee describes how she uses a visual schedule to help children know what to expect throughout the day. Created by The Center for Early Childhood Education, Eastern Connecticut State University.

Visual Schedules – Nearly everyone utilizes some form of visual schedule to stay organized. Create visual schedules using the do2Learn™ website. Requires paid subscription after a free trial.

Suggest a resource and/or provide feedback or comments on your use of these resources to Linda Labas at labas@maine.edu. Please use “Visual Supports Resources” as your email subject line.

(Video) Day 2

Updated: 07/18/22

FAQs

What are visual supports for autism? ›

Visual supports can be photographs, drawings, objects, written words, or lists. Research has shown that visual supports work well as a way to communicate. Visual supports are used with children who have autism spectrum disorders (ASD) for two main purposes.

What are examples of visual supports? ›

Visual supports are things that we see that enhance the communication process. They can be objects, photographs, drawings, written words, schedules, or lists. Visual supports can be seen all over our world. Some common examples of visual supports include stop signs, red lights, street signs, and fire alarms.

What are visual supports in the classroom? ›

Visual supports—concrete representations of information that is absorbed visually—are one way that educators can help students understand what is being communicated to them. Through visual supports, students can learn to communicate with others and make sense of the world around them when in the school setting.

Why are people with autism visual learners? ›

Also, autistic children are often visual learners. This might be because visual information lasts longer and is more concrete than spoken and heard information. It might help autistic children to process information and choose how to respond. You can help your child learn by presenting information visually.

How do you communicate with an autistic child? ›

Communication and interaction tips for ASD
  1. Be patient. ...
  2. Teach the child how to express anger without being too aggressive. ...
  3. Be persistent but resilient. ...
  4. Always stay positive. ...
  5. Ignore irritating attention-getting behavior. ...
  6. Interact through physical activity. ...
  7. Be affectionate and respectful. ...
  8. Show your love and interest.

What are the components of visual support? ›

Visual supports might include, but are not limited to, pictures, written words, objects within the environment, arrangement of the environment or visual boundaries, schedules, maps, labels, organization systems, timelines, and scripts.

What is a visual schedule for an autistic student? ›

A visual schedule is an image-based tool that helps support autistic children. It presents a sequence of events for what is going to happen during a specific task, during an activity, or throughout the day.

Why visuals are important for special education? ›

They understand what they see better than what they hear. Visual supports, also called visual cues, are tools that assist learners in a variety of ways. They enhance learning by helping visual learners understand activities, tasks, directions, and discussions.

How do visual supports help students with dyslexia? ›

Oftentimes dyslexic students may not retain a large amount of information or facts at one time, therefore providing anchor visuals "essentially helps them to link information in a way that they can picture as making sense." Mind maps and anchor charts can be used for all subjects to reinforce concepts for dyslexic ...

Who can benefit from visual support? ›

All students can benefit from having visual supports to help them remember and understand. But using visual supports can be particularly helpful for students with special learning difficulties. It is important to realize that visual strategies are used to help students UNDERSTAND better.

How do autistic kids learn best? ›

Some autistic children will learn reading more easily with phonics, and others will learn best by memorizing whole words.

Do autistic kids learn differently? ›

Many autistic children develop language skills at a different rate and in a different order from typically developing children. This means they might not understand what you say to them or might have difficulty following instructions.

Are visual learners autistic? ›

While not every Autistic person is a visual learner, visual thinkers are common among the Autistic population. We tend to be more sensitive to details and patterns in our environments and therefore, more likely to notice subtle differences in shapes, colors, or forms.

How do you calm down an autistic child? ›

What to do during a very loud, very public meltdown
  1. Be empathetic. Empathy means listening and acknowledging their struggle without judgment. ...
  2. Make them feel safe and loved. ...
  3. Eliminate punishments. ...
  4. Focus on your child, not staring bystanders. ...
  5. Break out your sensory toolkit. ...
  6. Teach them coping strategies once they're calm.
18 Apr 2018

How do autistic adults deal with anger? ›

Anger management Advice & Support for:
  1. Communicate clearly.
  2. Provide structure.
  3. Help to identify emotions.
  4. Offer a safe space or 'time out'
  5. Offer an alternative.
  6. Find out if the person is being bullied.
  7. Useful resources.
14 Aug 2020

What are the 3 main symptoms of autism? ›

Main signs of autism

finding it hard to understand what others are thinking or feeling. getting very anxious about social situations. finding it hard to make friends or preferring to be on your own.

Are visual supports evidence-based? ›

Visual supports are one evidence-based practice for students identified with moderate to severe disabilities that have been vetted and found effective in classroom settings across all ages from preschool through high school.

Are visual supports evidence-based practice? ›

Based upon the recent review, visual supports meets the evidence-based practice criteria set by NPDC with 18 single case design studies. The practice has been effective for preschoolers (3-5 years) to high school-age learners (15-22) with ASD.

Which is the following is not a type of visual support? ›

Hence, from the above points, it becomes clear that Radio is an Audio aid not visual.

What are the two types of visual schedule? ›

They also help establish routines, reduce anxiety, and can even teach flexibility. There are different types of visual schedules: Object schedules. TOBI schedules.

Why do autistic kids need routines? ›

Routine Brings Order to an Otherwise Chaotic World

Children with autism often have difficulty making sense of new sounds, behaviors, or events. A routine can create order in their life by helping them learn what to expect, when to expect it, and how to react. Predictability can enable your child to thrive.

Are visual schedules ABA? ›

A visual schedule can also be beneficial as an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy technique. Since ABA is a popular and well-researched type of therapy for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, it makes sense that a visual schedule could be a part of that approach.

How do you teach visual literacy to students? ›

Strategies for teaching visual literacy
  1. Picture analysis. Before reading a book or a chapter, talk about the picture on the cover or at the beginning. ...
  2. Note sketching. Visual note taking reinforces concepts students are learning. ...
  3. Take a color test. ...
  4. Insert memes.
26 Feb 2019

How do visuals help struggling readers? ›

Good readers construct mental images as they read a text. By using prior knowledge and background experiences, readers connect the author's writing with a personal picture. Through guided visualization, students learn how to create mental pictures as they read.

Do visuals help students learn? ›

Most teachers understand the power of visual aids in helping students grasp content. Teachers value the support that visuals lend to classroom instruction because they encourage students to make associations between pieces of information, soak up chunks of course content quickly, and function as a memory aid.

› benefits-of-a... ›

Sign language, picture cards or other visual aids, and electronic devices that produce speech are all options. An SLP can help you identify which will best help...
People with ASD tend to learn best using visual supports like pictures or sign language rather than auditory input. Here is a guide to resources and best practi...
Many children with disabilities have strong visual skills, and visual supports can help take advantage of those strengths. Visual communication tools such as ob...

What are the benefits of visual supports? ›

Reasons to Use Visual Aids
  • Improves audience understanding and memory.
  • Serves as notes.
  • Provides clearer organization.
  • Facilitates more eye contact and motion by the speaker.
  • Contributes to speaker credibility.

What are visual strategies? ›

Visual strategies are a way of supplementing information which is supplied verbally with visual information. They can be used to accomplish a range of goals. You may use something visual to help a pupil to understand a situation, or to provide a visual prompt so a student can accomplish a task more independently.

Which type of visual supports may help support communication? ›

Visual communication tools such as objects, photographs, picture symbols, daily schedules and choice boards can provide the support necessary to greatly improve a child's understanding and ability to communicate, helping children be more active, independent and successful participants in their lives.

What is visual support in communication? ›

What are visual supports? A visual support refers to using a visual item, such as an object, photograph, sign or picture, to communicate. Visual supports aid and enhance communication. They provide children and adults with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) with an alternative mode of communication.

Why visuals are important for special education? ›

They understand what they see better than what they hear. Visual supports, also called visual cues, are tools that assist learners in a variety of ways. They enhance learning by helping visual learners understand activities, tasks, directions, and discussions.

Why is visual learning more effective? ›

It Makes Communication Simpler and Quicker

According to the Visual Teaching Alliance, 90 percent of the information transmitted to the brain is visual. In addition, the brain can process visuals more than 60,000 times faster than text, which is quite surprising.

What is a visual schedule for an autistic student? ›

A visual schedule is an image-based tool that helps support autistic children. It presents a sequence of events for what is going to happen during a specific task, during an activity, or throughout the day.

What are 3 examples of activities for visual learners? ›

Learning Activities for Visual Learners
  • Photo Essays. Photo essays are simply sequences of photos. ...
  • Mindmaps. A mindmap is one of the "classics" of visual thinking. ...
  • Flowcharts. Flowcharts are one of the underused types of diagrams in learning. ...
  • Diagrams. ...
  • eLearning and visual learners.

What are 2 teaching strategies activities you would use for visual learners in your classroom? ›

5 Visual teaching strategies and tips
  • Use virtual whiteboards for collaboration and sharing. ...
  • Encourage students to visually demonstrate what they have learned. ...
  • Convey complex concepts with digital media. ...
  • Use concept maps to drive critical thinking. ...
  • Share graphic organizers before, during, and after lessons.

What are examples of visual learning? ›

Tools for Visual Learners
  • Use mind pictures or mind maps.
  • Take notes.
  • Use "clue" words for recalling.
  • Use colored highlighters to color code texts and notes.
  • Use maps, charts, diagrams, and lists.
  • Watch audiovisuals.
  • Take photographs.
  • Use study cards or flashcards.

What are the components of visual support? ›

Visual supports might include, but are not limited to, pictures, written words, objects within the environment, arrangement of the environment or visual boundaries, schedules, maps, labels, organization systems, timelines, and scripts.

Who can benefits visual supports? ›

All students can benefit from having visual supports to help them remember and understand. But using visual supports can be particularly helpful for students with special learning difficulties. It is important to realize that visual strategies are used to help students UNDERSTAND better.

How does autism affect visual processing? ›

Some autistic people may experience problems seeing with “meaning” within their visual surroundings and environment. This means they may use other sensory inputs to gain meaning because they cannot internally mentalise the image, visuals or see the significance they hold.

What are the symptoms of virtual autism? ›

Some studies suggest that increased screen time in young children is associated to negative health outcomes such as decreased cognitive ability, impaired language development, mood, and autistic-like behavior including hyperactivity, short attention span, and irritability (1,2).

Are visual supports evidence based practice? ›

Based upon the recent review, visual supports meets the evidence-based practice criteria set by NPDC with 18 single case design studies. The practice has been effective for preschoolers (3-5 years) to high school-age learners (15-22) with ASD.

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