I was teaching a zoom class about creating visual strategies for students with autism. Then one of the conference participants asked for a checklist.
My first reaction was to say that I didn't think she needed one. Then I began to think about my answer. I don't need one because the steps to create a good visual tool are etched in my brain.
But that doesn't mean my student won't benefit from one. That's where I made my mistake. Especially in the beginning, students learn from using a list or checklist to guide them through the steps to a finished project.
Autism is like that, too
It's just like working with our students with autism. In the beginning, they benefit from visual supports to learn the procedures or steps to accomplish a goal. After they have that procedure or routine etched in their brains, the visual tools don't have the same purpose. They won't be used in exactly the same way.
I know. Many people love checklists to help them make sure they aren't missing something important. Just remember that your students can like them just like you do. A visual prompt provides a sense of security. (And that's why I like to use my GPS even when I think I know where I'm driving.)
Here's a checklist
I have a checklist in the book Visual Strategies for Improving Communication. It starts on page 154.
It's called GUIDE FOR PLANNING COMMUNICATION TOOLS. It's a perfect help for those who are newer to using visual strategies or for those who just want to make sure they aren't forgetting something important.
Here's a sample from the checklist.
Why use visual strategies?
I first started writing about using visual strategies more than 25 years ago. The reasons we use visual strategies are still the same. They give the student important information.
The only difference now is that we keep finding more ways that visual supports can help students gain success.
The part that has changed is that we have many more resources to help us create interesting, engaging visual tools. We have so many new places to get pictures, especially using options online.
Fun pictures like SuperDog (at the top of this page) will capture student attention and help them have fun with communication.
Years ago our only picture choices to use easily were black & white line drawings. Those are not bad. They're helpful in our picture library. But now we have lots of additional options.
The most important goal is to develop visual tools that students will engage with and understand the message communicated.
Will your students enjoy using a visual tool powered by a super person?
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