Visual support is a portion of every one of my therapy sessions. As SLPs, we use it to teach articulation, language, and communication skills. For some students, it is a critical component as they rely on picture exchange for their expressive communication output. Other students rely on pictures before their reading skills have developed. Sometimes visuals are needed to increase the interest level (for me and the students!) or to support listening comprehension. Here are a few examples of how I have used visual supports recently in therapy:
I work with many students on learning memory strategies. Some of the strategies we practice include rehearsal, visualization, key idea, chunking, and listing. We incorporate these strategies into various language lessons. Last week I was using the “Snow Much Fun” unit from Super Power Speech. My students were comparing/contrasting two winter animals, so I copied her info cards on those two animals to the top of her Venn diagram. This consolidated all the info on one page and gave me something easy to send home for carryover. I have visuals of the memory strategies posted on by board, so after I explained the activity I asked my students to go collect the strategies they needed. They highlighted key info from each passage to “ID the Key”, then circled parts that were alike. From there, they had some main points to use when completing their Venn diagram.
I also recently shared my excitement when I found the snowman glyph freebie. I’m not afraid to say it….I did a little dance. I put the visual cues in the heavy duty sheet covers, assembled the materials, and we were ready to create some snowmen. I used this activity with my some of my language groups as well as when I pushed in to the classrooms for students with Autism. There were three adults in those groups, so I had a little bit of help managing the materials. I have found that a choice board is easier to manage than individual pictures. Sometimes I will cut, laminate, and velcro pictures onto a sturdy choice board to facilitate picture exchange (I use the foam boards you can find at the dollar store). Other times I use one like this one and teach the students to touch the pictures.
Students made choices, answered questions, and identified vocabulary using the visual choice board. Even with an activity that had plenty of visuals, it was helpful to have that extra step for expressive output.
Students completed their answers on the glyph data sheet and then I hung them up next to their snowman. We then used the finished products to make some observations and comparisons as we left the classroom.
I hope you enjoyed this peek into my therapy room! Please share how you incorporate visual cues into your therapy. Are there specific visuals or systems you wouldn’t want to live without?