Discovering the Possibilities with Visual Strategies 

Linda Hodgdon creates programs that explore the learning styles and learning needs of students on the Autism Spectrum.  Then she provides simple but effective strategies you can use to help those students succeed in their life opportunities.

Discovering the Possibilities with Visual Strategies:

Meeting the Communication, Behavior & Social Skill Challenges
in Autism Spectrum Disorders  

Most students with Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and related communication needs are visual learners!  

This observation has tremendous implications.

Capitalizing on their strengths, the use of visual strategies alters many social, communication, and educational challenges.  

This program will demonstrate how the use of visual supports, including APPS and video, helps students organize their lives, significantly reduces behavior problems, and improves student successful participation.  

 This program will define the need, discuss training, and demonstrate many practical ideas for both special and regular education settings.

Longer Program Description

Communication challenges are a defining feature of Autism Spectrum Disorders and many students with related communication or special learning needs.  The difficulties with social skills and appropriate behavior that are common for these students are frequently related to the communication difficulties they experience. 

Communication challenges transcend all aspects of the life of students with autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and others with related communication or behavior challenges. 

Comparatively little attention is directed toward increasing the student’s ability to understand the communication in his life.

While it is common for educational programming to focus on the development of communication skills for these students, that focus tends to be directed toward developing the student’s expressive communication skills.  

For these children, their struggle with communication is far more complicated than just the development of verbal language.  Understanding 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 all be areas of difficulty that result in frustration and behavior that is seen as disruptive.

At the same time, research demonstrates that most of these students display a relative strength in visual skills compared to their auditory abilities.  Visual strategies capitalize on that strength. 

Using visual strategies, including a range of low tech to high tech visual tools (like video, tablets, iPads and Apps), to support communication helps students organize their lives, significantly reduces behavior problems and increases functional communication. 

This is accomplished in part by developing a system of visual tools and aids to increase comprehension.  

Schedules, aids to give directions, aids to give information, and aids to establish and communicate rules are some of the tools designed to increase the student’s understanding of what’s happening around him. 

Visual tools and supports are not magic.  They won’t fix every problem that students have, but they will provide a valuable framework to support their lives.  Implementing a system of visual tools and supports significantly reduces various behavior problems and increases effective communication interactions for most students. 

The principle of visually supported communication is simple but the impact on the ability of students with ASD is profound.

While many people use a few visual tools in their homes and education environments, few use visual communication supports nearly as much as these students need. 

This program will demonstrate how and why to expand your use of visual supports. The use of visual strategies is effective across skill levels, for students from early childhood through adult. 

Visual strategies work for verbal and nonverbal students.  Children with high or low skills benefit from visual supports designed to match their capability. 

Numerous systems and strategies will be presented that can significantly improve communication, social interaction, behavior and participating in life opportunities.

Participant Objectives

Participants will learn to:

  • Identify significant factors in student learning and functioning style that affect communication.
  • Informally assess the student’s communication strengths and challenges.
  • Recognize situations where communication breakdowns can affect the student’s understanding, behavior and participation in social opportunities.
  • Develop visual tools to support communication, behavior & social skills


Content of this program can be adjusted to meet program timing needs.