What are visual teaching strategies?

Teaching Strategies for Autism

Autistic individuals have great difficulty processing spoken language without some kind of visual aid. Many other student who do not have autism can be classified as visual learners as well. Visual teaching strategies can help reinforce concepts for the entire classroom. Visual information is concrete and it comes in many forms. A teacher may choose to use pictures from the Picture Exchange Communication System to create a visual schedule for the student. The teacher can also use visual teaching strategies to teach concepts as well. Graphic organizers can be used to help an autistic student make visual connections to abstract information. The graphic organizer is used to break information down into concrete, mentally digestible parts that are easier to remember than the flow of spoken words. Many children, whether autistic or not, benefit from performing actions while learning. Kinesthetic learners learn thorough doing. Guiding students to complete tasks while prompting helps to reinforce ideas. Adding visual elements to any lesson plan is helpful in making the information concrete and memorable. Visual elements include graphic organizers, pictures, graphs and even gestures. Students who have autism benefit from hearing as few words as possible when given a question or directive. Instead of saying, "Billy, could you do me a favor and list the five senses that we discussed in class just the other day?" the teacher could say, "What are the five senses?" Keeping statements clear and concise helps a child with autism process spoken language. In addition, the teacher can use a simple gesture like holding up her hand to represent "five" further helping the student make a connection. The student with autism will need sufficient time to process a question or command and he will need time to respond as well. Giving the autistic student a few extra seconds to give a response allows him to process the information and it gives him time to produce a response.

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