Thursday, 30 May 2013

Visual Supports and Students with Autism

A month ago, I attended the Linda Hodgdon session titled, Discovering the Possibilities with Visual Strategies: Meeting the Communication, Behaviour, and Social Skill Challenges in Autism Spectrum Disorder and Related Learning Needs.  The Autism Society of Manitoba invited Ms. Hodgdon to speak about the supports that educators can put in place to meet the needs of both visual learners and students with Autism. Linda spoke about the communication needs of learners, honing in on the fact that a great deal of behaviour issues are related to communication.  Often, learners behave inappropriately or in a negative way because they are unable to comprehend the requests or instructions delivered by the instructor.  Hodgdon offered many different low-tech and high-tech possibilities for supporting visual learners and those students requiring visual supports, including picture cards that indicate the desired behaviour, apps, visual schedules, and videos.  These tools can be used to provide structure for students, model appropriate social skills, and assist with learner communication.  I found a great video on the Ohio Centre for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI) YouTube channel, which I think provides a great rationale for building visual supports into the educational setting. You can view the video here.  If you are interested in learning more about Linda Hodgdon's work surrounding visual strategies, please check out her website.

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