If you are reading this you may be just like I was when I first started learning about visuals.
My son Tom, diagnosed at birth with Down Syndrome, was two and a half. I attended a conference that explained the importance of visuals to his learning. I wanted to do the best for him but was already quite overwhelmed trying to learn about and meet his many needs. I needed the bottom line and I needed it to be simple - so here it is...
The bottom line;
Visual aids are simply pictures - pictures which allow for seeing and understanding, pictures which allow time to process what to do.
Many of the daily routines we perform are a lot more complicated than we realise. We do them without thinking. However, when the time is taken to really look at the routine, it usually has a quite a number of complex smaller steps. This web site provides a number of daily activities broken down in to step by step pictures.
The general idea with sequenced pictures is very basic... to start with a few pictures of a particular routine and gradually build up the number of pictures and the sequence length as the child achieves each smaller step. The eventual aim is to have a standard sequence of pictures (usually around 6 at the most depending on the child) for the child to refer to which allows them to achieve a particular routine with as much independence as possible.
There are also single pictures of emotions, behaviours and basic needs.
The pictures provided on the web site are free for you to download and print. There is also free subscription if you want to know when we upload more pictures.You can also email us directly if you would like help - yes that's free too.
How to make Visuals
Visuals can be made in a number of ways. The method suggested here is one which, through trail and error, we have found is easy and creates long lasting visuals ready for constant use and handling.
1. Select the Visuals (pictures) you want to print from the "free visual sequences" or "free visual packs". Click on the "Read More" button at the end of the sequence/pack blurb. Click on the girl, boy or general PDF to download for printing.
When printing we choose to use a thicker card rather than plain paper for durability. We find 180gsm matt paper (as opposed to normal 80gsm paper) works best. It allows our son to repeatedly handle the cards without them bending or creasing but is still thin enough to easily laminate. We buy the card at the local office supplies shop.It goes through our basic printer very well. Of course we suggest you check your printers ability to handle thicker paper before printing with it.
2. Cut page of pictures up into individual pictures along the given lines.
3. Laminate each picture separately, again to make the pictures more durable as they get handled a lot.
The basics of how to use Visuals
Visual aids can be very effective when introduced in a gradual manner making it a fun positive experience for the learner.
below is a suggestion for how to use the Single Sequences from this web site.
Select one sequence you are trying to teach.
1. Start by using pairs of pictures from that sequence and teaching a mini-sequence. For example from the hand washing sequence you could start with "sleeves up" and "turn tap on". Place the two pictures on a small backing board. Go through the action with the child. You as the parent/carer/teacher would of course do all the other steps for the child that they don't need to learn straight away (wash hands, use soap, turn tap off, wipe hands etc.). When you think they understand that you want them to copy the pictures (may take a few times or more) then just show them the card and say the words from the bottom and see if they do the actions - if not, help them do the action again.