Visual supports for autistic kids

Visual supports can be helpful for all kids, but this structure with visual cues can be especially effective autistic kids. Here's how to use them.

Visual supports can help kids in many ways.

They can be things like schedules, choice boards, checklists or stories.

These can be helpful for all kids, but this structure with visual cues can be especially effective for autistic kids

Image of yes/no checkboxes, smiley faces, checklist, timer, stars.

 Use visual supports to:

  • Lay out a daily or weekly schedule

  • Let your child make choices

  • Outline expectations for behavior

  • Help manage emotions

  • Describe a process like brushing teeth, getting ready for bed or doing homework

  • Prepare for a certain event like a fire-drill, a holiday dinner with family, or a move to a new school

  • Communicate with kids who don't talk

You can use just pictures or both pictures and words. Picture-based tools are helpful even for kids who can read.

Click on the underlined links below to see some examples. (They will open in a new tab on your screen.)

Click below for more ideas:

These are just some examples. Of course you would make visual supports that fit your child's needs, personality and age!

Learn more:

  • If your child gets therapy or special services at school, ask the therapist or special ed teacher for ideas. They can often help you with pictures and templates so you can make your own visual supports.

  • Ask other parents for ideas on visual supports for autistic kids.


Sources: Indiana Resource Center for Autism, Profectum