A Simple Autism-Visual Strategies Success Story You Can Use

An Autism-Visual Strategies success story isn't difficult to accomplish.

One of the most important parts of using visual strategies is figuring out what the student will understand. 

How does that student think?

What will make sense to him or her?

It's not always what you think of first.

Here's an example that worked. . .

One of the mothers in my classroom was frustrated because when she picked up her child "Johnny" after school he "pitched a fit" to go to McDonalds.

She was OK with McDonalds occasionally but had to figure out how to avoid the "fits" on the days they didn't go there.

"Johnny" had been using the "Red NO" symbol at school and understood its' significance.

I printed her a "McDonald's Logo" and a clear "Red NO" symbol. She velcroed the McDonalds logo to her visor in the car.

Then, for 3 or 4 days she pulled down the visor when "Johnny" was in the car seat and mom "celebrated" the presence of the McDonalds.

Hoop la, yeah, cheers. And they both got excited about McDonald's.

Then, on maybe day FIVE, she pulled down the visor and the McDonald's had a "RED NO" on top and Mom moaned and groaned and was sad and disappointed because there was a "NO" there.

"Johnny" in the back seat... IN SHOCK ...... He just sat there ..... "no fit".....

He realized Mom was not saying "NO"..... It was the SYMBOL saying "NO"..... and Mom was sad also....

They went home.

Mom used the McDonalds and the NO intermittently from then on....and there was never any "flack" from “Johnny.”

Julia Ringler

What I like best about this story is how Mom developed a new routine with the McDonald's picture before introducing the NO sign. 

Before this event, Mom and "Johnny" had a routine, but there was no visual tool to go with it.  Introducing the McDonald's visual to accompany that routine was a great way to change their routine so they could work into using the NO sign.  

I often say "It's easier to teach a new routine than it is to change an old behavior." That's a really important part of this autism-visual strategies success story.

We often talk about how students with ASD can't "read" what other people are thinking very well. In that same way, our job is to figure out what makes sense to that child.  What kind of logic will he use?

Then we'll have an autism-visual strategies success story as we try to manage those challenging situations.


Post it below or email to contact@quirkroberts.com

View more autism-visual strategies success stories

Visual Strategies for Improving Communication is full of lots of Samples & Examples to give you more ideas how to use visual strategies to overcome those frustrating challenges.

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  1. My only comment is to say to you thank you for all of your years of work with our children. I retired from teaching after 40 years as a speech pathologist and preschool classroom teacher. My years before introducing me to your book were very different from the years after reading your book. Your book changed everything about how I approached the children in my classroom. I credit my success in the children’s communication growth to you.
    Thank you for changing my world.
    Thank you for all the tools you have developed for my needs. (hey none of this is new to you……. I speak for all of us in the field!!!!!!)

    1. Thanks for sharing your success! I know visual strategies can make a BIG difference in student achievement. I want more people to have the positive experience that you have had.

  2. Very good idea for addressing this child’s after school expectations! Thank you…I have two students who just may respond well to this.

  3. Thanks for all the great ideas you continually share. My son (15) still struggled with showering and drying himself until last month. One of the (many) changes in moving to high school included having swimming in PE second term. I knew we had to get it under control before he had a locker room mishap! I don’t know why we hadn’t done it sooner, but I whipped up a six step visual with the script I have been using for years to get the job done, laminated it to be waterproof, and Voila! He’s been doing it himself at home for a few weeks, and is ready for school change rooms!

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