Visual Supports for People with Autism: A Guide for Parents and Professionals (2007)
Marlene J. Cohen and Donna Sloan
Woodbine House 6510 Bells Mill Rd. Bethesda, Maryland, 20817
This book highlights the importance of using visual supports when teaching people with autism, recognizing that for many, auditory information is very challenging to process and a multi-sensory approach is most effective. The introductory chapters explain commonly used visual support systems, including activity schedules, checklists, social stories, sign language, pictures and photos and the PECS Program (Picture Exchange Communication System). Factors such as durability, portability, developmental levels and the amount of effort required to effectively use a system are discussed as issues for determining a visual strategy.
Subsequent chapters provide extensive information about how visual supports can help with the development of language, attention, sequencing, memory, motivation and social skills. This section is full of practical ideas, with visuals on how to design teaching materials. The final chapter includes strategies for fading visual supports. The book concludes with a case study that highlights the immense gains possible when visual supports are added to a teaching program.
This book is easy to read and full of many concrete, hands-on visual strategies to implement. It can be read cover to cover or simply referred to by specific chapter. I recommend this book to both parents and professionals as an excellent overview of visual supports and their benefit to persons with autism.