I work with many students with autism and other disabilities that require the use of visual supports for education. Visual supports can be used to enhance receptive and expressive communication as well as provide positive behavioral support.
What are visual supports? Visual supports are any symbols, photos, objects or words used to take all or part of auditory information and make it visual. Visual supports can supplement verbal instruction. The visual support remains as a referent long after the verbal instruction has been given. The visual support can assist with challenging behaviors.
First/Then boards are a visual support used to show the student what they must do first in order to get what comes next (then). Visually shows expectations! For example, the student may have to complete Math before they get iPad.
First/Then boards can be used in a variety of ways – but I mainly use them for positive behavior support. I try as often as I can to be proactive when using them and not wait until the behaviors occur. They can many times decrease frustration and anxiety because the expectations are visually laid out for them.
When I first began selling products on Teachers Pay Teachers, I made a set of First/Then boards to support other teachers in making more visual supports for children with autism and other disabilities.
I later extended that to making a Visual Supports for Autism MegaPack. This is a huge pack that contains many different visual supports for both communication and behavior. Please feel free to check them out and see the simplicity of such an amazing strategy.