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The Power of Visual Supports for Children

In this episode of the podcast, we're diving into the world of visual supports for children. It's a topic that has gained a lot of popularity, and for a good reason. Visual supports can be a game-changer for parents and caregivers. I even have a guide on my website that helps you create your very own visual supports at home. It's been a hit with many, probably because making visual supports can seem overwhelming at first, but when you break it down, it becomes manageable.





What Are Visual Supports?


Visual supports are a way of presenting information visually to children. Instead of relying solely on verbal communication, we use pictures or words to make information more accessible. Think of it as a way to make information stick. Kids often forget verbal instructions quickly. It's like one ear in, the other out. Visual supports provide a reference point that children can turn to when they need guidance.


Visual Supports for All Kids:


All children benefit from structure and routine, and visual supports are a great way to provide this. They help reduce the need for constant reminders and nagging. Kids can take charge of their own tasks, following the visual cues you've provided. It's a win-win for both parents and children.


Visual Supports for Kids with ADHD:


Children with ADHD often struggle with executive functioning. They might know what to do but find it challenging to execute tasks at the right moment. Visual supports becomes invaluable in helping them stay on track. Whether it's packing their school bag or managing their weekly schedule, visual aids can provide the necessary prompts.


Visual Supports for Autistic Children:


Many autistic children thrive on structure and routine. Visual supports can offer a clear and predictable path for them. It helps them navigate daily activities and reduces the anxiety and overwhelm they might experience when things seem chaotic.


Creating Visual Supports:


Now that you understand why visual supports are essential, let's talk about how to create them. There are various ways to make visual supports, and you can choose the methods that work best for your family.


  • Start with the Pain Points:

Identify the times in your daily routine when things get tricky. Start by creating visual supports for these challenging moments. For example, the morning routine, after-school routine, or bedtime routine. Visual supports provide clarity during these transitions.


  • Keep It Simple:

Begin with a straightforward visual support. Use a two-column table with words on one side and pictures on the other. The title should be kid-friendly and relatable. Make it easy to understand.


  • Involve Your Child:

Collaborate with your child in creating the visual support. Talk about the order of the steps and let them have a say. The more they buy into the process, the more successful it will be.


  • Review and Adjust:

After a week of using visual supports, review how it's working. If necessary, make changes to improve its effectiveness. Flexibility is key.


  • Placement Matters:

Put the visual support at your child's eye level, where they can see it easily. Consider the location where the tasks are performed, such as the fridge for morning routines or bedroom doors for bedtime routines.


  • Use Realistic Images:

For autistic children, using realistic images or photos of your child performing tasks can be more effective than generic illustrations. This makes the visual support more relatable.


Options for Visual Supports:


There are various tools and resources available for creating visual supports:

  1. Word documents

  2. Canva for more design-oriented visual supports

  3. Mission Magnets

  4. Being Life Beautifully

  5. PrepKids

  6. Second Scout's wooden tiles for a natural look


Visual supports are a powerful tool for parents and caregivers to help children navigate their daily routines with ease. You don't need to be an expert to create effective visual supports. Start with the basics, involve your child, and be open to making improvements. The goal is to minimise nagging and yelling, creating a more harmonious and organised environment for your family. If you missed the webinar, don't worry – I'll upload the recording to the website


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