Strategies & Interventions – Objects of Reference & Visuals
Visuals and objects of reference are great, and can be used in so many ways. They are especially useful with children who have severe learning difficulties, special needs, autism or communication delay. Visuals and objects are often easier to understand for some children than spoken word. In their simplest form, objects can be used to give individuals an idea of what is about to happen e.g. give someone a spoon and they know its time for lunch, or a towel, before going swimming. However, this form of communication can also be used in many more complex ways and the individual can communicate, make choices, and learn language. If we can develop the use of textures, objects and symbols, we can improve organisational skills, sequencing, develop language concepts, and communication.
Visuals and pictures can work for many individuals with communication difficulties. Visual strategies can be used in many ways to enhance understanding and expression. They are particularly useful for non-verbal individuals, individuals with learning difficulties and/or those with autism. Some individuals are “visual learners” and respond better to visual input than auditory input. Visuals can be used in isolation to represent single words or actions and make choices, they can be used in stories, timetables or schedules to help with routine, and they can be used as an additional cue to the spoken word to help support understanding.