Visual Supports for People with Autism: A Guide for Parents and Professionals


Most of us use visual supports in our daily lives-for example, a shopping list, calendar, or a roadmap. Visual supports are particularly beneficial to people with autism because they help make abstract concepts concrete and capitalize on the user's inherent visual learning strengths.

Visual Supports for People with Autism shows parents and educators how incorporating these aids while teaching can improve academic performance, behavior, interaction with others, and self-help ...

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Most of us use visual supports in our daily lives-for example, a shopping list, calendar, or a roadmap. Visual supports are particularly beneficial to people with autism because they help make abstract concepts concrete and capitalize on the user's inherent visual learning strengths.

Visual Supports for People with Autism shows parents and educators how incorporating these aids while teaching can improve academic performance, behavior, interaction with others, and self-help skills. In a friendly, conversational-style, the authors, both certified behavior analysts, describe the deficits typical of autism-language, memory, temporal sequential skills, attention, motivation, and social skills-and present strategies to use visual supports to address those issues at school and home. This guide presents an abundance of examples, illustrated by dozens of black & white and color photos, including:

activity schedules
color coding
flip books
graphic organizers
photo boards
Power Cards
Social Stories
to-do lists
video modeling

Visual Supports also explains considerations such as portability, durability, preferences, age appropriateness, and effectiveness. While visual supports can enhance learning, they should, however, eventually be eliminated to avoid over-dependence on them. An entire chapter describes different ways to fade visual supports.

With this book, there's no limit to what can be taught, from fostering social interaction by using a graphic organizer of conversational talking points to learning to put away toys from video modeling. Most of the visual supportspresented in this book are low-tech and easy-to-use, making it simple for parents and professionals to create their own, suited to the needs of their students. Inspiring success stories will further motivate parents and professionals to get started.

2008 Independent Publisher Book Awards Bronze Medalist

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Editorial Reviews

ADVANCE for Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists
All of the visual supports noted in the book are low-tech and most can be made with materials found in the home or classroom. Clear, concise writing and abundant illustrations make this an ideal book for families, teachers, therapists, and anyone else working with people with autism or other developmental delays and those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Children's Literature - Alison Wilber
Designed as quick-reference tool for families and teachers, this book is dedicated to increasing independence and raising performance ceilings for children and adults with autism. The authors recognize the need for highly-individualized visual supports, and they provide chapters differentiated for types behavior and learning, exposing the reader to various specific systematic visual support strategies for each domain. Representative case studies and many examples are provided, as are ways to address specific questions readers will ask of their student's or child's case. This book presents specifics for various Autism Spectrum Disorders, age groups, skill levels, and areas of interest, so as to provide a foundation the reader may build from in developing supports specific to their own needs. Readers will gain a thorough understanding of the theory, justification, and application of many types of visual supports, importantly including visuals used to build discourse skills and social development. Examples of their social skill supports should be modified to feel natural for the child, considering age and interests. The examples given feel largely unnatural for most children, and more focus should be directed at teaching how to respond to others, not just how to initiate questions of others. The authors also discuss common concerns, such as how to fade visual supports over time. Many references are provided for companies marketing products used in the text, as well as sources of additional related information. While the text does not thoroughly discuss using visual supports as language development tools for beginning communicators, many creative and detailed ideas are presented forchildren functioning in academic or transitioning-to-work programs. Reviewer: Alison Wilber
Library Journal

Visual supportsis a formal term for referring to those tricks and methods that help us in our daily routines, e.g., to-do lists, maps, calendars, and highlighting text. For those with autism spectrum disorders, visual supports can aid in compensating for weaknesses with processing auditory input, particularly speech. Cohen and Sloan, both certified behavior analysts with the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center at Rutgers University, write clearly and base their work on such strong sources as David Sousa's How the Brain Learnsand the works of Mel Levine. The more than 140 illustrations and photographs provide inspiration for how to "draw on your child's strengths to support areas of weakness," which should be a goal for all educators and parents. Adding to the book's many practical suggestions are an informative chapter on how to fade visual supports when appropriate and an extensive list of references and recommended reading. Although this guide is written for parents and teachers and none of the supports is difficult or expensive to create, it will probably be used mainly as a reference by teachers. Recommended for academic libraries and public libraries with autism collections.
—Elizabeth Safford

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781890627478
  • Publisher: Woodbine House
  • Publication date: 4/7/2007
  • Series: Topics in Autism Series
  • Pages: 180
  • Sales rank: 140,217
  • Product dimensions: 8.44 (w) x 10.88 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     vii
Foreword   Jan S. Handleman     ix
Introduction: Unlocking the Door: How Visual Supports Can Help     xi
The Features of a Good Visual Support     1
Some Commonly Used Visual Supports: A Primer     9
How Visual Supports Can Help with the Development of Language     23
Using Visual Supports to Increase Memory: The Who, What, Where, Why, and How     39
Temporal Sequential Skills     61
Using Visual Supports to Increase Attending     85
Using Visual Supports to Increase Motivation     99
Using Visual Supports to Increase Social Skills     115
Strategies for Fading Visual Supports     133
An Example of the Use of Visual Supports to Increase Opportunities     145
References     149
Resource Guide     157
Index     165
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