The Power of Using Visuals With Children

Guest post by Arlen Grad Gaines and Meredith Englander Polsky

Whether it is the acquisition of new skills or the adjustment to life changes, we know that children feel most comforted by routine and repetition. The idea of knowing what comes next can feel incredibly reassuring, especially around new or different concepts. We have found that the use of visuals work well for all children, including those with special needs.

Visuals, in general, are great tools often used by special educators, therapists and anyone working with (or parenting!) a child with special learning needs. Sometimes children need less talking “at them” and more concrete ways to wrap their mind around a particular concept. Many children with special needs are highly visual and are better able to process information when they can see it. A short picture story can tap into that strength, thereby better supporting the child and his/her needs.

Jenni and Jody

Jenni and Jody

Jenni and Jody are Christian, homeschooling moms with ten kids between them (ages 1 to 30), including one on the autism spectrum, plus one baby grandchild. Together they host a weekly syndicated parenting radio show, write a weekly newspaper column, freelance for a variety of publications, teach parenting and homeschooling workshops and seminars, speak at conventions and conferences and coach individual families. They are passionate about encouraging and equipping families to Parent On Purpose (POP) with the end result in mind.

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You Can Do It — Toddler Rice Bin

It’s “You Can Do It Wednesday,” and today we are focusing on toddlers.

When my oldest child was 19 months, we began a long road of therapy. At that time, his therapists called it “Sensory Integration Disorder,” but by the time he was two, the neurologist called it Autism.

We had a wide range of weekly therapy appointments — from speech therapy and play therapy to occupational therapy and behavior modification. Along the way, I picked up some cool tips that helped not only my oldest, but were awesome for my other kids too.

One of those was the rice bin!

We filled a big Rubbermaid tote with rice and then hid little toys in it. When it was playtime, I would spread a big sheet on the floor to catch the spill over and give him measuring cups and spoons and a ladle, and he would scoop and pour the rice and find the hidden toys along the way.

So if you’re looking for a fun toddler diversion this week, try a rice bin.

Jenni Stahlmann

Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of seven kids (ages 1 to 20) including one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly syndicated radio show, write a weekly newspaper column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about parenting on purpose.

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