Being non-verbal and missing all milestones my son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and a Global Developmental Delay when he was two and a half. He is now seven years old and is in a mainstream school.
The most important element of his intervention was visuals and visual learning. Through visuals I was able to tap into his world and find out what he understands. The visuals naturally encouraged speech as he came to label objects and made sense of language. Despite being non-verbal at three he was able to point, match and easily learn literacy, numeracy and also work on fine motor skills. I was astounded at how the visuals just clicked with his brain.
About The Brain and Visuals
The learning process starts with perception. People receive information through the senses, become aware of it and can examine it and either store it in their memory or discard it as unnecessary. The senses are constantly sending information that is then processed by the brain. We have specific brain structures dedicated to different senses. However, we have almost an entire lobe of the brain that is dedicated mostly to visual information.
Vision can be said to be the most important sense for those who have it. Around 90% of all informational input that we receive on a daily basis comes through this sense.
In general, most students need to see the information in order to learn it, so visual learning can facilitate the process for them. Visual learning through The Flashcards Early Intervention program gives a clear and simple presentation of information. The programs helps organise and group the information which then helps a child to see and learn about the big picture and the details. Concepts are understood more deeply. Visual learning helps learners link what they are learning with what they already know. The Flashcards facilitates and establishes links and patterns that tie different concepts together. In general, this type of learning favours integration.
Another positive aspect of visual learning is that it helps enhance retention and memory. Through The Flashcards children are able to remember concepts, details and relationships more clearly, especially if visual and verbal cues are used together. The Flashcards incorporates the programs for verbal and academic learning on the cards.
Programs include academic, school readiness and speech
- Animals and Animal Sounds
- Items in the Kitchen
- Items in the Bathroom
- Household items and Furniture
- Outside Items
- Different Transport options
- Vegetables and Fruit
- School and Pre-school Items
- Fine Motor Skills
- Sight Reading Program
- Identical and Non-Identical Matching
- Numbers and Letters
- Body Parts
- Articulation and Pronunciation
- Identifying Categories
Why Visual Learning Works for children with Autism and Developmental delays?
In the case of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder or another communication or learning delay, the issue of learning often becomes pressing. Children might have difficulties learning verbally or at least purely through verbal instructions, so finding the best way is often the first step in helping the child learn more effectively.
Children with ASD often tend to rely on a single style of learning even more than individuals without ASD. Visual learning is favoured among children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and by adopting this way of learning and using it over others the child learns more effectively and maximising memory and retention. Children that are visual learners, will need to see the things they are expected to learn and will not react as well to purely auditory or kinaesthetic experiences.
Visual learning aids are easily interpreted and can enhance the understanding for children with ASD. Visual support with The Flashcards can be used in an inclusive setting and with children who have ASD, ADHD, Hearing Impairments, Cerebral Palsy, Downs Syndrome, as well as children with learning and communication delays.
The Flashcards pictures are clear photographic images so they can draw the child’s attention and hold it for some time. They can be used to make concepts and ideas more concrete and less abstract, something very important for children with ASD.
Children with Autism may also have sensory sensitivities, by using visual aids this helps the learners focus better and focus on the concept rather than other situations. They can also reduce the anxiety a child might feel in relation to the educational context. Visual aids can also help a child express ideas better and easier, especially important for children who might have difficulties with words. Visual aids often can be more structured than other type of learning materials.
Visual learning is important for most individuals and is especially valuable in the case of children with ASD, which is why The Flashcards, which includes the programs work with children who have ASD, Communication and learning delays.