When you’re working as an educator within the field of special education, it’s important to implement lesson plans that are grounded in evidence-based practices. With evidence-based practices in play, you have consistent evidence from reliable reviews of research showing that the practice produces positive outcomes with students with moderate to severe disabilities.
Visual supports are one evidence-based practice for students identified with moderate to severe disabilities that have been vetted and found effective in classroom settings across all ages from preschool through high school. They have been used effectively to teach academic content and social skills, as well as ease transitions between tasks and increase participation, task engagement and independence allowing students to complete tasks and decrease the need for assistance from adults and peers in the classroom.
As much as possible, make the auditory world of teaching as visual as possible – pair auditory information with a visual.
Use picture schedules, calendars, environmental picture cues or labeling, visual instructions, visual rules, graphic organizers, checklists and break cards so that everything you expect the student to do can be accessed in a visual format.
Visual supports help to visually communicate what is supposed to happen.
Visual supports can include:
Teachers can decide the level of visual representation (object, photo, line drawing, word) based on what is best understood by the student accessing the visual support.
If you are looking for a special education curriculum or solution for your district that is rooted in evidence-based practices, TeachTown has got you covered. enCORE, Social Skills, Transition to Adulthood and BE SAFE all include the use of visual supports.
Backed by the science of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), all of TeachTown’s education solutions are built on evidence-based practices, helping to alleviate the burden of a legal liability, should it arise, while also producing top-notch outcomes for your kiddos.
Head over to our site and review our suite of solutions. You can request a demo for a one-on-one walkthrough of the solutions, where you’ll see how visual supports are implemented throughout.
Cannella-Malone, Dueker, S. A., Barczak, M. A., & Brock, M. E. (2021). Teaching academic skills to students with significant intellectual disabilities: A systematic review of the single-case design literature. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, 25(3), 387–404. https://doi.org/10.1177/1744629519895387
Ganz, J. B., Kaylor, M., Bourgeois, B., & Hadden, K. (2008). The impact of social scripts and visual cues on verbal communication in three children with autism spectrum disorders. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 23, 79-94.
Johnston, S., Nelson, C., Evans, J., & Palazolo, K. (2003). The use of visual supports in teaching young children with autism spectrum disorder to initiate interactions. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 19, 86-103.
Sam, A., & AFIRM Team. (2015). Visual supports. Chapel Hill, NC: National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorder, FPG Child Development Center, University of North Carolina. Retrieved from https://afirm.fpg.unc.edu/visual-supports
Steinbrenner, J. R., Hume, K., Odom, S. L., Morin, K. L., Nowell, S. W., Tomaszewski, B., Szendrey, S., McIntyre, N. S., Yücesoy-Özkan, S., & Savage, M. N. (2020). Evidence-based practices for children, youth, and young adults with Autism. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, National Clearinghouse on Autism Evidence and Practice Review Team.