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Dec 8, 2011

Visual Supports

As an autism mom, I'm grateful for choice boards, picture schedules, picture cues, etc.  It's amazing how visual these kids are and sometimes the words just aren't enough (actually most of the time).  It is such a help to pair a picture with the words.  We use pictures in our choice boards, and then when they hand us the pics, we prompt them to say the words.  That is how Caiti, who is mostly nonverbal, learned the word "popsicle."  The choice board is also used often in their therapy:

We have an after-school picture schedule:
This was great, because this is how I got my kids to start doing chores with help.  Now they see the pictures of the chores and will do them with much less prompting.  The good thing is the schedule board has velcro on it and then the choices for chores, snacks and activities can be switched up depending on what we have to eat or what needs to be done that day.  These kinds of schedules are very helpful to our family.  We have one for a potty routine, bedtime routine, etc. 
As always, there are many expensive resources out there for these kinds of supports, but you can easily make your own.  My kids respond best to photographs of pictures rather than drawings.  Any pictures I use are from my own photo library or from Google Images.  I save them to my computer and insert them onto a word document, making sure to size the pictures appropriately.  Then I cut them out, laminate them (there are self laminating sheets for people without access to a laminator.  Staples, the fed-ex store, the UPS store and usually teacher supply stores will laminate your stuff for a small fee).  I buy self-adhesive velcro strips at any craft store or the sewing section of stores like Wal-Mart, and put velcro squares on the back of the choices.
Basically, for the actual board, you just use card stock and either write on it yourself or print out what you want to say and cut and paste.  Then you laminate the board.  For the choice board or the schedules that have choices, just add the velcro (which I cut into small squares) where you want their picture choices to go.  I have found that it works better for me to velcro the actual board to the wall than to use staples, tape or nails.  For some reason, my kids don't take them off the wall with the velcro.  Whatever works, right?  :)

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