Visual supports can be helpful in supporting all young people, and adults. They are particularly useful for neurodiverse people such as those on the autism spectrum, those with ADHD, those with dyslexia, hearing impairment or communication needs.
Why use visuals?
Visual supports can aid understanding and reduce levels of anxiety. Speak to a young person themselves about what helps them and to their parent or carer about anything that may be useful.
All people with are different. Some may only be able to process one or two items on a visual story or timetable, whereas others may be able to have a timetable for a whole weekend camp.
When planning for a young person, discussions with parents and the young person will help to adapt visual resources appropriate.
Examples that can be created specifically for the individual, can include:
e.g. the Programme for the term or for a specific activity or session - this could be provided for the section as a whole.
these contain information to help the young person to understand what to expect and what will be expected of them. These could be used to support:
- Understanding of ceremonies within Scouting
- Preparing for upcoming events (e.g. camps, making The Promise)
- Preparing for changes
- Preparing for particular events/ trips
- Transition between Sections
Youth resources available from Scout Shops, contain basic information which includes illustrations for all young people. They explain about Scouting and the section, or about badges and awards. These may be useful, to help prepare a young person for joining a section or in their transition into the section.
A Section Code of Behaviour is a good example and could be made more visual with symbols/ pictures, for the whole section.
These can be used to support communication or the giving of instructions. This could be written or printed text, symbols, signs, 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 young person, particularly autistic young people, to sequence complex series of events which can be presented in many different ways.
You can create your own resources using photographs, symbols or drawings. Some organisations provide free resources which you can use or adapt for Scouting, and others that you may wish to purchase to support young people in your group.