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Using Visual Supports to Enhance Participation and Decrease Challenging Behavior in Individuals with Autism&CCN

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Many individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) also have complex communication needs (CCN). These individuals require AAC to communicate expressively and receptively. Many also experience a high level of anxiety during transitions throughout their environments and sensory processing challenges simply navigating those environments. High anxiety can make tasks that are usually simple difficult if not impossible to perform. Consequently, they often feel overloaded and may participate less, shut down, or engage in challenging behaviors. This results in isolating the individual from others.
Visual supports help an individual to organize their daily activities and conceptualize time and the order of events. In our current fast-paced world, we all use visual supports on a daily basis. Many use technology including electronic calendars and agendas, personal computers and tablets, and smart phones throughout our day to maintain organization over the many facets of our lives.
Many individuals with ASD also benefit from visual supports in order to organize information and guide them in making transitions, something that can be particularly stressful for most individuals with ASD. That is, they process information best through visual input. Therefore visual supports make use of this strength to scaffold individuals with ASD as they navigate their world. Multiple clinical examples will be shared of individuals of all ages who have benefited from visual supports and have increased their participation and success in their environments as a result.


Kimberly Ho    
AAC Services
United States


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