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Resources Across the Lifespan - Visual Supports Learning Links and Templates

These resources are intended as a starting point to learn more about visual supports and to offer templates and suggestions to begin creating your own visual support materials. You will need a PDF viewer for some of the resources – download Adobe Reader here.

Visual Supports Checklist

The Visual Supports Checklist (doc) is based on a review of current literature, practical knowledge, and reported experiences from early childhood educators on the topic of visual supports. Developed by Susan Bennett-Armistead, Ph.D., University of Maine College of Education and Human Development; Bonnie Blagojevic, M.Ed., C.A.S., University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disabilities Studies; Erika Neal, M.Ed., University of Maine Farmington; and Billie Taylor, MSW, LCSW, University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disabilities Studies (June 2011).

Take a Look! Visual Supports for Learning

Photo and text shelf label for visual support.

Photo and text shelf label for visual support.

In this June/July 2011 NAEYC Teaching Young Children photo essay, “Take a Look! Visual Supports for Learning” (PDF), authors Blagojevic, Logue,Bennett-Armistead, Taylor and Neal define visual supports and show how they help all children to understand rules and expectations, engage in daily routine, navigate transitions, communicate thoughts, feelings and needs, and increase independence in child care routines and activities.

Learning Links Sampler

ConnectABILITY – (Launch Supported Inclusion, then click on Communications, and select Visual Supports). Supported inclusion is a learning module for professionals. After launching the module, Visual Supports is a subtopic under Communications. Listen and watch workshops such as Visual Communications, access Tip Sheets, Communication Posters, and other tools.

Creating and Using Social Stories – This Head Start Center for Inclusion web page provides general information about the purpose of social stories, when to use them, how to create and use social stories and offers a variety of ready-made social stories to download and use in the classroom.

Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention for Young Children – (Folder 5 – Visual Strategies, Folder 6 -Scripted Stories, Folder 7 – Circle Time Tips,  and Folder 8 – Feeling Vocabulary) - Teaching Tools for Young Children provides tips, tools, and resources to help children with challenging behaviors. It supplies visual strategies, tools for explaining emotions, as well as routine materials and examples for both home and school settings.

Using Social Stories to Ease Children’s Transitions (PDF) - This article shares information about what social stories are, how to create them and gives examples such as how they can be used to help toddlers during transition times.

Use Visual Strategies - Provides information regarding what visual strategies are, who benefits from them, and why they help. Explains the research behind why students with Autism Spectrum Disorder, behavior, and communication challenges benefit from visual strategies.

Using Multimedia to Promote Vocabulary Learning: Supporting English Language Learners in Inclusive Classrooms - A recent research study shows that using multimedia video in conjunction with traditional read aloud methods may improve the vocabulary growth of English language learners. An example of how to implement multimedia during classroom read-alouds is described.

Create Visual Supports

Visual Supports workshop activity.

Visual Supports workshop activity.

ConnectABILITY Visuals EngineConnectABILITY visuals engine helps to build custom visual supports and sequences for your child. Templates are available along with images to insert (and/or you can upload and insert your own) and a place to type in a title for the image.  You can print the completed sequence from the web site.  It provides a list of recommended sizes and different ways visuals can be used.

Hands in Autism - The Practical Tools section of the HANDS in Autism site offers information on how to create visual supports and examples on topics such as Communication Supports, Social Skills Supports, Teaching Academic Skills, Transition Supports, and Self Monitoring.

pictureSETPictureSET is a collection of downloadable visual supports that can be used by students for both receptive and expressive communication in the classroom, at home, and in the community. This searchable database allows you to find a wide range of useful visual supports for different curriculum areas, activities, and events. The collection involves all areas of study and is available to download.

Teacher Tools: Classroom Visuals and Support – This Head Start Center for Inclusion web page supports teachers to include children with disabilities more naturally in the classroom. These tools are designed to be able to print and go with quick and easy explanations. The ever-growing library of commonly used pictures and visual supports include templates that can be downloaded to use immediately to support children to learn how to problem solve, follow the daily schedule and make friends.


Suggest a resource and/or provide feedback or comments on your use of these resources to: Linda.Labas@umit.maine.edu. Please use “Visual Supports Resources” as your email subject line.


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