When I sent my daughter to school, I was convinced I would never see that nice new lunch box again, not to mention the jumper or hat we had bought.

bag tagHaving a speechie mum she went off to school with a bag tag inside the front pocket with a visual strip of all the things I was hoping to see at the end of the day.  I have to admit while she professed vehemently that she didn’t need it, it saved her bacon a number of times.

As we get children, clients and families ready for the start of the new school year, we can’t forget the importance of visuals to support students at school.  It may be a small bag tag, a visual timetable or a to do list for secondary school, but no matter what, it is important to remember that visuals have their place for all of us. By the way Understood.org have a great backpack checklist for older students.

In some of my conversations with schools, I find myself reinforcing the importance of visuals and the need to keep them around, even when the students don’t appear to be using them anymore.  Visuals are a medium for seeing and understanding. They allow students the time they need to process what they are being asked to do. They do not disappear and are not easily forgotten like the spoken word. Words are finished as soon as they are said, whereas visuals are a constant which can be referred back to when students are unsure.

Everyone benefits from visuals, even typically developing children.  How many of us have a to do list?

So when transitioning kids to school our job is to empower parents about visuals, as well as educate teachers about their importance.  And remember that while the visuals may change as kids get older it is important not to take them away.