Visual aids and techniques

  Visual aids

Visual aids may be helpful for most young children with autism and those with communication difficulties.      Click icon for a UK mum’s experience using visual aids, published on The autism page.

The National Autistic Society has a guide to visual supports.      They can be used to assist with every-day life.      Click icon to browse.

Most children on the autistic spectrum are visual learners.       Here is a more analytical article about the benefits of visual supports.       It recommends consulting a speech therapist to help decide what to use.

 PECS boards

Picture exchange communication system (PECS) boards provide students with a way to visually associate ideas about their everyday life, and to communicate with their instructors and family.      Click icon for illustrations of their use and How to for a guide to making your own.      The website is USA based.

 Flash Cards

Sparklebox offer free resources for parents of children with special educational needs.       Here is the Speech page.       Their terms of use are brief.

  Mr Tumble

CBeebies’ series Something special was designed for children with communication difficulties and uses Makaton.      Click icon to browse the the themed episode on BBC iPlayer:  e.g. The looking game.

They have an introduction for song videos.

  Tippy talk

TippyTalk is a two-way communication tool for nonverbal and speech-impaired users.      It uses on-screen picture and symbol cards which can be read aloud.       Click icon to find out more.        See also: back story and blog.


Makaton uses signs (gestures) and symbols (pictures) to help people communicate.      Click icon for Signing Hands, the UK Makaton website and have a look under About.

  • There are also many Makaton videos on Youtube.       Click play list icon for a list.      Here are a couple of examples:  Ten in the bed       Chriustmas 123 
  • This video of Tom’s story illustrates how Makaton might work in practice.
  • Here are some free resources to download and maybe print.
  • There are regular Makaton courses at Belton Lane Children’s Centre, Grantham.      Contact course tutor:

What works?

  • This retail site provides some background comparing PECS with British Sign Language (BSL) for children with autism.      See: article.      Makaton may seem similar to BSL.
  • On Mumsnet, here are some parent’s opinions specifically about Makaton and PECS.
  • Also, on an autism forum this discussion goes into a bit more detail.

Key word

Makaton uses signs and symbols to help people communicate.     The signs are based on the gestures used in British Sign Language.
See: Description

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