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How Visuals Can Help To Support PLAY

Imagine the frustration - wanting a toy and not be able to ask for it.

- wanting a particular toy but receiving

something you don't really want.

- not being able to find that special toy (as it's not where it's supposed to be).

These are just a few of the everyday "frustrations" that can be alleviated

with the use of visual supports for your child.

Visuals can provide choice for your child.

Using a "Choice Board" with visuals of your child's toys allows the opportunity to make a request for what is wanted.

Start with only 2 -3 toy visuals and

gradually work up to a larger group of options once your child understands the purpose of each visual.

Choice options can be limited by the caregiver but allows a sense of control for your child. Once a choice is made it is important to respect your child's request, so make sure choice is always available. If for some reason it is not available - remove it from Choice Board.

Visuals allow your child to make a specific request of exactly what they are wanting. Parents will try their best to determine what their child wants, however when your child is nonverbal or has limited verbal language - mistakes can be made. Using visuals can increase the purposeful and meaningful communication of your child and help to reduce anxiety and frustration..

Visuals help to organize toys in the play space of your child.

Labelling baskets, boxes or shelves can help your child to understand where the toys are and where they need to go for clean up.

Using coloured boxes can also serve as a visual prompt (eg. cars in the red box, blocks in blue box), but awareness of potential sensory overload for your child is important.

Sometimes "less is more" and by reducing the amount of toys and other visual distractions, labelling consistently and rotating toys periodically can create play opportunities that are very beneficial for your child. Having matching visuals on a Choice Board, allows your child to make requests (which should always be encouraged, rather than your child just helping themselves).

When your child is able to make a choice and retrieves the matching toy from box or shelf (sometimes with assistance) - independence is enhanced.

Having play visuals available for your child is a great personal visual dictionary for your child that will promote understanding and language. Visuals help to eliminate the potential of confusion and increase the working memory for your child. Play is a great learning opportunity and visuals strengthen the success of play interactions for your child with others.

Please feel free to contact me for further information and support -

Lena Morrow

September 16, 2022

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