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Dynamics Therapy Centre for Kids
Issue 98 | August 2022
Strengthening Executive Function

A visual support refers to a picture or other visual item to communicate with, assist a child to make sense of their day, remember events and complete tasks. Visuals can benefit children with:

  • Language delay
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Sensory processing disorder (SPD)

How do they help?

  • Visuals are permanent, unlike spoken words that only last a few seconds. Children can refer back to visuals as often as needed.
  • Visuals help to present information in a way that is organized without depending on a child’s memory skills. This can include showing a number of choices, objects, order of events and other different types of information.
  • Visuals encourage independence. As children learn to use visuals with increased familiarity, they can become independent in completing daily tasks without adult support.
  • Visuals help manage behaviour. A visual can list out expectations, rewards and consequences of different situations to help manage behaviour in children.

Schedules and timetables

Visual schedules or timetables can be used to show a child what is happening in the day. This allows the child to process what they are doing now and what they are going to do next, helping them to transition from one task to another. This can be easily updated to help a child deal with changes in everyday life.

spacer Time Table
Routines spacer


Routines list out a visual sequence of activities to build new skills. They can be used alongside verbal prompts to help a child understand the step. This helps them to remember particular steps in the routine and transition them into independent learners. Routine sequencing of tasks will provide predictability which will decrease anxiety and promote independent work skills. Remember to provide positive feedback and praise successful attempts to reinforce and encourage independent use of these visuals when building new skills.


Behaviour management

These types of visuals remind the child of behaviour expectations and possible consequences of following or not following the rules. This can work hand in hand with a daily schedule, rewarding a child for completing different tasks and goals for the day. Children are more motivated when they have a visual indicator of what they can gain. This supports children in focusing their attention and staying on task, allowing them to become more independent.

spacer Behaviour Management

Tips - How to Improve Attention

Strategies to use with visuals at home

  • Add descriptive words under pictures and symbols to encourage reading and make sure the child and communication partner understands the visual and how to use it.
  • Laminate visuals that will be used regularly and frequently so that they last longer.
  • To promote independent learning, gradually fade out adult support to encourage children to use visuals independently.
  • Provide praise for attempts and successes when children use the visuals.
Employee Spotlight

Keefe Lim  - Speech Therapist

Keefe Lim
Speech Therapist

Keefe qualified as a Speech and Language Therapist with a Bachelor of Speech Pathology from the University of Newcastle in Australia.

Click here to get up close and personal with Keefe!

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