I have something to confess.
I am a visual learner. There we are, I’ve admitted it publicly.
Ask me to work out a maths problem in my head – virtually impossible. Give me a piece of paper so I can ‘draw’ it out with either symbols, dots or numbers then I’m fine. I will use a strategy I have developed, which involves breaking it down to the simplest form so I understand it, then adding the tricky, complicated element.
Take this one for example:
Now I know there are some people who will immediately get this and know what operation to use and will solve it in their head. Hands up who actually tried to work this out….
This is how I had to work it out:
Answer (I think) is 19. Let me know if you’ve worked it out differently.
The point is. I got to the right answer but I took a visual strategy. I think best in pictures and colour.
Every year my hubby and I set ourselves yearly goals. It could be written as a list. It could be kept in a drawer. No, that’s not how my brain works. It has to be BIG, bold and colourful. It has to be on display for a constant reminder. If I see it, it will cause me to change or adapt my behaviour. Out of sight, out of mind.
My personal calendar I use on my phone is colour coded. Purple = events. Green = birthdays. Yellow = holidays. You get the picture (no pun intended). This helps me in my organisation. I can see what’s what clearly.
I absolutely love stationery and it won’t surprise you I have a very used loyalty card at Paperchase. My Amazon parcels usually contain coloured pens, paper, labels, notebooks. Oh joy 🙂
So what is this to do with our special children?
I am a HUGE advocate of visual cues. For every aspect of their day. Visual prompts can help with learning, organisation, social situations and to regulate behaviour. I know. It helps me to organise my self. So why on earth do we not always consistently use a visual, colourful approach with ALL our children?
1. VISUAL TIMETABLES are a must for children with autism, behaviour or learning difficulties. They should be used at home and at school. The premise is to use simple and clear pictures on a grid to help your child understand the order of events.
In the example below, your child will know clearly that they are to go to the shops, then to the park and finally he can watch TV. Each picture can be removed from the grid once it is completed. Some children prefer to put a smiley face or a tick on top. No language is needed. Brilliant.
Visual timetables are such a fabulous resource as not only do they help with avoiding surprises (and so hopefully avoiding meltdowns) but they also can help your child begin to become organised and independent.
They can be used to help remind your child what to pack in his book bag ready for school, help to get dressed, morning routine, bedtime routine. VTs can prepare for a difficult situation such as a birthday party or holiday.
As your child develops then the presentation can change too. The grid can change to words only, can be a list, written on a small whiteboard in his bedroom or kitchen. It’s all about preparation and a clear, visual message being portrayed. Simple yet massively effective.
Exciting news; I am currently developing an amazing, useful visual product to use at home WATCH THIS SPACE 🙂
2. LEGO MATHS
If your child is struggling with maths homework then it is essential that you go back to basics. Make sure he understands the very simple concept he is trying to tackle – then build from there.
Always, always have to hand practical equipment that will help with counting, tables, measuring.
Use lego. It is ingenious.
Google Lego Maths and you’ll get tons of ideas. Great for counting, addition, fractions, times tables. make learning FUN!
I was listening this week to the launch of the Radio 2 500 Words competition. A brilliant competition to encourage creativity in writing stories. And to inspire youngsters to write, Chris Evans and fellow presenters randomly picked out of a hamper 3 unrelated objects – a wind-up Santa, a mouldy pumpkin and a pair of goggles. The aim was to spin a story around the objects. The outcome was extremely inventive – santa lived in the pumpkin all year sad and lonely and had to wear the protective goggles as the snow was blinding. Had the objects not been used this fantastical adventure could not happen.
Play this game at home with your children. Put random objects in a bucket, pull out 3 and verbally tell a story. Take it in turns to embellish it. What a fantastic opportunity to use visuals to develop speaking and listening.
4. LEARN TO READ KEY WORDS
Some children will be able to learn their spellings with the look, cover, write, check method. Avid readers will just know how to spell.
But our special children need a little assistance. What could be better than using bright, clear, colourful words. Written on a yellow background which helps our dyslexic children. And as an added thrill – engage them in a game!
As a special treat this week I am giving you a FREE game that I have made. Score a goal is fun and very visual and your child won’t even know he’s learning! Click here here for your free copy.
So in conclusion, using visuals can hugely help your child in many aspects of his daily life. Give him the tools and watch things change.
If you would like any help or advice please get in touch. My personal email is soli @ yellow-sun. com
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