How to Create Visual Strategies for Students with Autism

Here’s a common question: Who creates visual strategies for students with autism?

When the Speech Therapist works with students with autism, it’s important to include the teaching staff and parents as a part of the education plan. Visual strategies usually become an important part of the plan. Everyone who communicates with the student needs to understand how visual strategies fit into that student’s communication system.

Here’s a question I regularly receive
How does the Speech Therapist get teachers, parents, and others to make and use visual supports?

Here’s the answer:
There are a lot of different ways that people can do that. The bottom line is TEAMWORK.

I really like to think of myself as a catalyst for getting that to happen. In other words, I want to work with the teachers or parents or other people that will be interacting with the students who will need visual supports.

I want to teach them how to identify what the student’s communication needs are, what visual supports will help and then how to find or make visual tools to support those situations and needs. As they learn more, it can become their responsibility to create the visual tools they will need.

Sometimes I help an aide to make something for the teacher or the classroom and sometimes I help a teacher make something for a parent. But the long term goal is for the person using that visual tool to be an active part of creating it.  That will personalize it for the best outcome.

Working together as a team is important. But what I want to do is teach each individual on the team how to identify how they can become better communication partners by using visual supports.

When each communication partner takes responsibility for their part in the communication environment, they will identify those situations and opportunities where visual supports will enhance their communication with students. That will produce the best result.

Working together as a team, all communication partners will take part in creating visual strategies for students with autism.



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