By: Laura Bueche, MOT/OTR
Visual supports are concrete cues that provide your child with information about a routine, activity, behavioral expectation, or how to learn the component of a new skill. They may include pictures, symbols, written words, objects, visual boundaries and schedules.
Goals that can be addressed by using visual supports include:
- Increase frequency of smooth transitions.
- Decrease amount of time to transition.
- Increase predictability.
- Reduce inappropriate behaviors associated with a task or transition.
- Increase independence.
- Minimize teacher and adult support (e.g. prompts and reinforcement).
- Increase understanding of expected task or activity to complete.
- Maximize understanding of environment.
- Decrease distractions.
- Reduce self-injurious behaviors.
- Increase social interaction skills.
- Increase demonstration of play skills.
- Increase understanding of behavior expectations.
There are three types of visual support: visual boundaries, visual cues, and visual schedules.
Visual boundaries are a helpful way to help your child make sense of the world around them. It will help your child to stay on task, understand personal space, and stay organized. Visual boundaries can include:
Visual Cues are helpful for a variety of different applications. For example they can help with:
Breaking down the steps of a task.
Organizing concepts and ideas.
Assisting with communication.
Visual Schedules – Visual schedules can increase your child’s understanding of expectations and provide support for transitions in between activities.
When developing a visual schedule, there are a lot of components to consider:
- Form of the visual (picture, photos, words, phrases).
- Length of the sequence (one item, two items, half day, full day).
- Presentation (left to right, top to bottom, technology based).
- Manipulation of the visual (child carries object to next activity, “all done” pocket, marks).
- Location of the schedule (on a wall, desk, notebook).
Be sure to work with your child’s speech and language pathologist, occupational therapist, or special education teacher to determine what the most appropriate type of visual schedule is for your child.
For more information on occupational therapy services including helping children and adults with sensory-processing abilities, coordination, peer interaction, play and self-care skills to participate in daily life activities, visit eastersealsdfvr.org.