Monarch Center for Autism's evidenced-based, visual language teaching method leverages the strong visual processing abilities of children with autism. Each of our students receives individualized visual supports around three primary constructs: Visual Instruction (adapting instruction so it is presented visually); Visual Expression (using visuals to facilitate expressive communication); and Visual Organization (using visuals to organize activities and daily schedules).
The visuals we use at Monarch can easily be adapted for use in home, school and clinical settings. We hope you find the attached samples helpful. Please feel free to print them, customize them (if desired), keep them in a binder for future reference, and share them with others.
These visuals pertain to Activities of Daily Living. Regardless of age, Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) significantly impact our lives. Whether it's bathing, dressing, eating, toothbrushing, or toileting, these lifelong skills are applied in numerous settings including home, school and the community. Not only do they comprise our daily self-care activities, but mastery of ADLs promotes greater independence. For some individuals with Autism, learning an ADL can be challenging. Below are visual supports that can be used in multiple settings to practice a variety of ADLs.
Visual Instruction Mode (VIM): My Shower Routine Activity Story
Visual Expression Mode (VEM): Getting Dressed Topic Display Board
These visuals pertain to Promoting Independence. We are frequently reminded that autism is a lifelong condition, which requires lifelong supports. Childhood goals often vary from those of adolescents and adults. As individuals mature, it is important they learn activities that promote independence such as completing chores, trying new foods, shopping, and practicing good hygiene. The collective acquisition of skills is critical to promoting future success at home, in school and in the community. Below are visual supports for adolescents and adults that promote independence.
Visual Instruction Mode (VIM): Let's Go Shopping Matching Game
Visual Organization Mode (VOM): Loading the Dishwasher - Dishes Checklist & Silverware Checklist; Daily Chore Chart; Weekly Lunch Menu with Food Options; Visual Shopping List; Look in the Mirror Checklist
These visuals pertain to Spring Break and Visiting the Zoo. Spring Break is quickly approaching and that means plenty of quality time to spend with our children and families. While a break from school and work is welcomed, it is still important to exercise our brains and work on our children's communication skills. Luckily, communication skills practice can be incorporated into every day routines and activities. Attached are some ideas and visuals to help you get started:
- List of Spring Break Activities (indoor and outdoor suggestions including cooking, reading, nature walks, bubbles, playground, and more)
- Spring Break Topic/Choice Board (help your child express his/her activity preferences)
A trip to the Zoo during Spring Break can be fun and worrisome. How will my child react? Will my child like the Zoo? How do I prepare my child for the Zoo? These are common questions many parents ask when venturing out to the Zoo. No need to worry. Below are some visual supports, organized by VIM, VOM & VEM, that may help alleviate your fears:
Visual Instruction Mode (VIM): Zoo Activity Story (relay what to expect during your trip to the zoo and curb fears)
Visual Organization Mode (VOM): Zoo Visual Schedule (provide your child with insights into the zoo routine for the day)
Visual Expression Mode (VEM): Zoo Topic Display Board (allow your child to see and express interests and dislikes)
These visuals pertain to Valentine's Day. For children with autism, this holiday presents potentially wonderful opportunities for social interaction. Younger children may exchange cards and greetings, and older children may purchase gifts and go to dances. Below are visual supports, organized by VIM, VOM & VEM, that may help children of varying ages prepare for Valentine's Day activities.
Visual Instruction Mode (VIM): Valentine's Day Activity Story; Valentine's Day Gifts - Which Buys It? Matching Game
Visual Expression Mode (VEM): Valentine's Day Conversation Topic Display Board
These visuals pertain to Winter Fun (Dressing & Playing Outside). For those who live in cold climates, freezing temperatures and snow can be a part of daily life. Along with the outdoor fun this affords, individuals with autism may struggle with the abundance of winter clothing and gear. Here are visual supports, organized by VIM, VOM & VEM, which may help with dressing for winter and playing outside:
Visual Instruction Mode (VIM): "I Want to Play, But it is Cold Outside" Actviity Story; Non-Identical Winter Items Matching Board
These visuals pertain to Holiday Travel. Traveling during the holidays can be stressful for everyone, and in particular for those on the autism spectrum. Long lines, unfamiliar people, deviations in routine, delays, overcrowding, sensory overload - any and all are cause for anxiety. Here are visual supports, organized by VIM, VOM & VEM, that may help set expectations and minimize the stress:
Visual Instruction Mode (VIM): Airplane Ride Activity Story
These visuals pertain to Thanksgiving. Along with the joy and revelry of the Thanksgiving holiday, families of individuals with autism may also experience anxiety caused by deviations in routine and overstimulation. Advanced preparation and the following visual supports can help minimize stress and maximize enjoyment: Thanksgiving Visuals; Thanksgiving Dinner Topic Board; "I am grateful for..." Visuals; Thanksgiving Visual Schedule; Interactive Thanksgiving Activity Story
These visuals pertain to Halloween. For children with autism, the fun and excitement of Halloween can be overshadowed by fear and anxiety. Halloween activities (e.g., costumes, parties, trick-or-treating) may disrupt routines and result in sensory overload. However, with advanced preparation and the use of the following visual supports (which can be customized), Halloween can be an enjoyable experience for the whole family: Halloween Visuals; Halloween Visual Schedule (detailed version); Halloween Trick-or-Treat Visual Schedule; Halloween Topic Board; Halloween Activity Story.
These visuals pertain to daily organization, task sequence and transitions. The First/Then Display promotes understanding of the expectation of participation by indicating the order of scheduled activities. The Countdown Board provides a visual representation of the number of repetitions required to complete a task. The Daily Visual Schedule helps increase an individual's understanding of upcoming events, thereby decreasing anxiety related to these events. The Calendar Visual Schedule depicts an extended timeframe and is useful for showing previous and upcoming activities and temporal concepts. The Activity Visual Schedule delineates the steps and sequence involved in completing a task.
These visuals pertain to summer time fun. The summer visuals can be printed, cut and assembled to create daily summer time schedules.
These visuals pertain to meal time. The "Food Talk" Topic Board is helpful for those with minimal language who wish to communicate a single idea. The "Table Talk" Language Board is appropriate for individuals who are able to string together subjects, verbs and nouns to form sentences