- Start with a few simple pictures to help your child understand daily activities and instructions such as “hold hands”, “nursery” and “bathtime”.
- You can use photos, line drawings, or coloured pictures.
- Write the word below the picture and always say the same word. If “TV” is the word you use for television, write “TV” below the picture. This helps everyone use the same word for television and the repetition will help your child to learn the word.
- Make duplicates of all the pictures. They will get lost!
- Always say the word with the picture.
What kind of visual supports?
Put about six of the instruction pictures on a key ring to carry around with you and use throughout the day. Make up several sets to give to teachers or other family members. Key rings can be purchased in packs on Amazon.
A visual timetable can be created for a whole morning at nursery or full day at school. It may include up to about 6 activities. It can be used be for a specific activity such as getting ready for bed, going to the toilet or getting out to school. As each activity is completed the child can take the picture off and post into a finished box. Children usually really enjoy this!
“NOW AND NEXT”/ “FIRST AND THEN”
Some children cannot manage a long timetable or need activities broken down into small parts. Two part timetables are ideal. Choose whether to use “now and next” or “First and then”. This is often a useful way of moving a child on from a favourite activity and is not meant to be a reward scheme. Use the finished box to post the cards when the activity is finished.
Making visual resources
- It is usually much cheaper and more flexible to make your own resources. Here are a few tips to get started.
- Buy a laminator. A4 size should be fine. These are available on Amazon, Tesco etc and should not be too expensive (about £20)
- Laminator wallets vary in quality and the ultra cheap ones are not as good for certain tasks as they are very thin.
- You may need card that is longer than A4 for timetables. I put A3 card into a wallet and then cut this in half lengthwise before putting into my A4 laminator.
- Finished box: Make a finished box from a washing tablet box and then cover blue Peter style with sticky back plastic which again can be purchased on Ebay or Amazon. You can buy a posting box such as from ELC or Special Direct if you prefer.
- You can make a blank template using a table in word for your pictures so that you can create new ones and keep them all the same size. Then add your own photos, clip art or pictures from the internet as you wish.
WHAT PICTURES SHOULD I USE?
You can use photos, line drawings, or coloured pictures. Please look at the visual resources page of my website for more information on what pictures to use and where to find them.
See my previous blog on the Magic of visual resources to understand how visual supports can help your child.