Visuals are a concrete, non-transient means of structure and communication. That is to say they can be looked at and referred to again and again as necessary. We all use visual supports and they are found everywhere. Types of visual include things like signage, written words and calendars. Even a rooms structure and layout can be considered a visual support!
Visuals can be used to structure any environment and are a particularly helpful resource in the management of anxiety. They can be used in a stationary manner, positioned on a relevant wall or desk, in one’s line of vision. Or they can be used as a tangible in mobile format. When mobile, these are tools used to help with generalisation of skills across settings.
When used correctly and consistently, visuals create predictability and impact positively on the autistic individual’s mental wellbeing, while validating personal ability and building confidence. They enable the individual to communicate in an alternative way when necessary and visuals also allow them to access environments that might otherwise be too overwhelming. It’s important to remember to explicitly teach the individual how to use these to ensure they are an effective strategy.