Reduce Student Anxiety with Visuals
By Carolyn Jenkins
As we near Winter Break, you may notice some of our students begin to struggle with the changes that inevitably come at this time of year. Some students begin to get anxious at the thought of being out of school for two weeks. Contrary to what we might assume about students, and what students might even share with us, the thought of being without the structure of school can feel stressful and worrisome for many of our students, with or without disabilities.
For many students, visual supports, such as Social Narratives and visual icons for calendars, can help students navigate the changes and expectations that occur during holidays and school breaks. Visual supports can help students by presenting PERMANENT information to which a student can refer back as often as s/he needs to, as opposed to the transient nature of verbal information which disappears after it has been heard. Students can feel secure in the knowledge that they can refer back to the visual information if they need reminders or reassurance about the changes.
The Indiana Resource Center for Autism through the Indiana University Bloomington has shared some resources that teachers and parents might find helpful to use when preparing their students for holidays and school changes, such as time off. You can find these resources here: https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/pages/visualsupports