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Visual Supports

Visual supports can be helpful in supporting young people on the autism spectrum. These can aid understanding and reduce levels of anxiety. This can encourage participation and avoid frustration that could lead to distress based behaviour. Speak to the parent or carer about anything that may be useful for the young person.

All young people with autism are different. Some may only be able to process one or two items on their visual story or timetable, whereas other young people may be able to have a timetable for a whole weekend camp. Discussions with parents and the young person will help to adapt visual resources appropriate.

The youth resources available from Scout Shops, contain basic information for all young people, about Scouting and the section, or about badges and awards. These may be useful for a young autistic person, to help prepare them for joining a section or in their transition into the section.

Examples that can be created specifically for the individual, can include:

Schedule/ timetable - eg. the Programme for the term - this could be provided for the section as a whole

Visual stories - information to help the young person to understand what to expect and what will be expected of them. These can be used to support:

Some sample visual stories can be downloaded here.

These include joining a section, going on a camp and making your Promise.

For more information about social stories (type of visual story) from the National Autistic Society click here.

Visual reminders - a Section Code of Behaviour (see scouts.org.uk/behaviour) is a good example and could be made more visual with symbols/ pictures, for the whole section.

Visual prompts - can be used to support communication or the giving of instructions. This could be written or printed text, symbols, pictures, photographs or objects.

Even if you don’t have a visual timetable to hand during a pack, troop or unit night you can simply create one yourself using a list or drawn symbols. The principles behind a visual timetable help the young person with autism to sequence complex series of events which can be presented in many different ways.

Further information about visual supports is available from the National Autistic Society at autism.org.uk/visualsupports


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