‘Visual Supports’ Communication Kit

Autism Speaks releases at home tool to increase verbal capacity

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) In playing popular games such as Charades or Taboo, individuals often find themselves wishing for a pen and paper upon struggling to find the words to express themselves. Autistic children often feel the same way in regular life.

In an Autism Speaks press release, the organization continues on with its mission to support autism by releasing a tool kit designed to help parents improve communication with their children.

Although it focuses on autistic individuals, the tool uses visualizations for anybody struggling with using or understanding language. 

"Incorporate visual aids in communication with autistic loved ones."

Dan Coury, M.D., medical director of the Autism Treatment Network (ATN) explains that "expressive and receptive language skills are a common problem for children and adolescents on the autism spectrum.” Dr. Coury and his team declare finding “non-verbal communication methods such as visual supports improve their communication skills, and this guide can be particularly helpful for families navigating their daily routines."

Clinicians and supportive families gathered at the Vanderbilt ATN location to develop the Visual Supports and Autism Spectrum Disorder tool kit. The treatment technique aims to facilitate understanding in typical autistic weakness areas including social approaches and starting conversations.

Visual cues depict situations that children with ASD can more readily understand, allowing parents to avoid unnecessary frustration.

A vice president at Autism Speaks, Clara Lajonchere, Ph.D., expresses that “the goal of the 'Visual Supports' tool kit is to empower families with effective strategies to create less stressful and smoother routine communication between a child with autism and their families or practitioners.”

These tools were inspired by a 100-day kit available to newly-diagnosed autistic families and all tool kits are available on the Autism Speaks website.

Speak with a mental health professional about the appropriate use of tool kits to help with healthy communication in autism spectrum disorders.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
December 1, 2011
Last Updated:
December 1, 2011