You know you need visuals in your Autism Unit and when you work in any self-contained classroom, but which ones are the right ones? Here’s a roundup of FREE Visual Supports for Students with Autism for you to consider!
Free Visual Supports for Students with Autism
When I get called out for behavior support as a teacher tries to deal with inappropriate behavior in their Autism Unit, I find that more times than not the negative behavior is because of a handful of reasons. Number one on the list… lack of Visual Supports!
So as we work through the inappropriate behavior one of the first things we have to get in place is visual supports. Visuals are effective because it gives the teacher a concrete and tangible item to reference, it allows for a directives paired with a visual to be presented repeatedly, and the visual allows for the teacher to NOT talk so much (one of the 6 mistakes teachers in Autism Units make… read the rest here).
So which visuals are the ones for you?
Free Visual Schedules for Students with Autism
Visual Schedules are an imperative part of the Autism Classroom. You MUST have a visual schedule available for your students. This can come in different forms like visual schedules with icons, tactile symbols, concrete items, or words. The one you choose will depend on the needs of your students.
There are a few options you can get that are free. The free printable from Spannj.Org will do the job. You may have to supplement to get exactly what you need. You can also find one from NoTimeforFlashcards.Com. This is more limited, but gives you a different look visually. Maybe it will inspire you!
Finally, a great option for secondary classrooms is the printable from KUSD who has a winner and even though the icons are smaller it will get the job done quite well.
If you are looking for something more detailed, versatile, or just plain cuter check out the ones available commercially, like the ones in the NoodleNook Store. You will find a Boardmaker based version as well as a black and white version with secondary students in mind that presents as less juvenile.
Free I Need a Break Cards for Students with Autism
I have you covered here… I have one you can print available from my NoodleNook store on Teachers Pay Teachers. It is part of the larger Behavior Toolkit with a ton of visuals you can use in your Autism Unit or self contained classroom.
Free All Done Visuals for Students with Autism
Gerry’s Kids has a free icon online you can print and use for students with Autism. The all done icon is a great way to have students indicate they are finished as opposed to slapping you or shoving all the materials on the floor.
Free First-Then Visuals for Students with Autism
Running your Autism Classroom will require you make it clear what is expected and what is happening next. A great way to get that done is with a First-Then visual like the one free here. You can also check out the one available from NoodleNook FREE.
Free Working For/Token Economy for Students with Autism
Positively Autism has a printable for Token Economies in the classroom which tells a student what they are working for and gives them a means to earn it. Check it out and remember, you can supplement icons that are more appropriate for your students as needed.
Free Reminders and Rule Cards for Students with Autism
Autism Classroom Resources has a perfect visual rules and expectation you can use for free! Having a visual like this in the classroom makes it easy for you to reference the rules and intercept a chain of negative behavior by reminding a student of the expected behavior.
Building Blox also has some icons you can print and use right away. Check out the entire site for more free visuals.
Free Communication Supports for Students with Autism
There is a simple but effective freebie for just Yes and No responses. I am always amazed at how many people ask questions to students who are nonverbal or minimally verbal without any way for them to answer. Keeping a set of Yes-No visuals handy will make sure you have students who are able to communicate.
SETBC has a ton of visuals and there are several formats so if you have the ability to access Boardmaker or Writing with Symbols you can get a file specifically for those programs. Otherwise, for those of use with just good old .pdf and .doc readers, you can find something too!
Visual Supports for Autism Classrooms
No matter what visual you start with, you NEED to have visuals in your classroom. Think about what you have to say over and over again to your students… and make a visual for that. You can also easily add visuals to make work systems and work tasks more accessible for your students with Autism.