Visual Strategies

Visual support strategies, including objects, pictures, photographs, symbols and drawings can be used to support individuals who have communication difficulties. 

They can be used to support an individual to understand and to  express themselves (e.g.. make choices, comment, ask questions etc.) 

There are a wide range of visual support strategies that are used at the East SILC which include:
  • Visual timetables; Now and Next boards
  • Token reward systems
  • Timers
  • Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
  • Objects of Reference (multisensory)
  • Environmental labelling
  • Talking Mats
  • Communication books, boards, and Communication Aids
  • Conversation diaries
  • Visual scales (e.g.. volume of speech)
  • Feelings boards
  • Social stories
  • Pen and paper- written word and/or drawing
Which visual strategy should we use?
The strategies used will be dependent on the individual’s level of understanding.

Some people will need real objects to support their understanding and expression, whereas others will be able to understand a photograph..

Objects are the most concrete way to represent something as they have all the properties of the real thing (e.g.. smell, feel, sound etc.). Whereas a photograph has less of this detail, but still retains some of the key features (e.g.. colour). The written word is the most abstract as it contains none of the ‘real’ features of what it represents.

A Speech and Language therapist will be able to advise which visual strategies are appropriate for an individual, based on their symbolic understanding, and when to use them. 

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