Is communicating with your child hard due to autism? Most children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are visual learners meaning they can better comprehend visual information rather than auditory. By using visual information to aid your child, you are reducing the frustration for yourself and mostly your child. So what are visual aids or supports? Visual support refers to using a picture or any other visual item to help communicate to children who have difficulty with language. Visual support comes in a variety of ways from photographs to drawings or even written words. Many non-verbal kids utilize the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) which uses picture symbols to help children with ASD to communicate effectively.
The main characteristics of ASD are challenges interacting socially with other peers, family members, etc. As well as that, many children have difficulty using language, limited interests, or unwarranted changes in routines. Therefore, by utilizing visual supports, many children would have a better grasp on social cues especially how to change behavior based on “unspoken social rules” or starting a conversation. Many children with ASD also struggle in being able to comprehend or follow instructions because they can’t express what they need. Visuals can also help with these circumstances by creating clearer conversation and reducing frustration which promotes appropriate and positive ways of communication. Finally, many children with ASD may act out or get frustrated when there are changes in routine. Visuals can aid in helping them understand what will happen next and help them cope with change.
Visual aids expand the ability for kids with ASD to interact with their surroundings and be able to effectively communicate their wants or needs. Visual supports can give children with ASD a chance to “gain autonomy” over their own lives and be able to most importantly communicate with their peers, parents, caretakers, etc. Visual supports gives children with ASD the voice they need.