For children ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) understanding words is more complicated than for neurotypic children. Imagine that you are going to a foreign country from which you do not know the language, and an inhabitant of that country begins to speak to you and ask yourself questions in their language that you do not understand. Now imagine that the same person shows you in pictures what he wants to tell you, a photo of a plate of food, a hotel, an indication or anything you might need.
Through the image it is much easier to understand the language that is not understood, images are the universal language. Well, that’s how the brain of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder works. Although each child is completely different and there are no two identical autistic people, for the vast majority this is one of the main problems in their communication. Therefore, one of the most appropriate ways to work on your understanding is through pictograms.
What are pictograms
Pictograms are drawings or graphic signs that represent real actions, concepts, and images . This type of communication is used on a regular basis, to signal on public transport, in shops and even on the street itself to guide traffic. Traffic signs are pictograms, the indication of entry and exit on the metro is so, and everything that is expressed through an image is.
For ASD children, pictograms are a simple way to understand and make themselves understood. When they are not able to express in words what they need, learning to use pictograms may be the best way to communicate with other people. It also helps them to understand what is expected of them, for example, if you organize their day to day with a visual schedule, including pictures in addition to words, the child will be able to associate that word with that particular image and understand its meaning.
Pictograms are commonly used to work with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Generally, teachers working with special education children use them in class, as well as in early care facilities. However, if you make use of this material you should always on the advice of the professionals who care for the child, always consult with your therapists before using any therapeutic material.
How to make summer pictograms
For children ASD, summer can lead to severe neurological mismatch. It is harder for them to understand that their usual routine has to change for a few weeks. Therefore, it is important to use the tools available to make summer easier and enjoy as a family with neuroatypical children. Try to plan the daily life of ASD children, creating a schedule with pictograms.
You can search the images you need on the Internet and print them in the size you prefer. Then you just need to cut them out to place on a cardboard or panel where the child can easily access them. You can also use magazine clippings and even make the drawings by hand. Images of pictograms should be simple so that ASD can understand them well.
It is not necessary to make very realistic drawings, on the contrary, the simpler and easier to visualize, the easier it will be for the child to understand the action. A very special way to make pictograms for children ASD, is to use your own image for the different actions to be performed. For example, the child drinking a glass of water, eating an apple, playing with its blocks, getting into bed to sleep etc.
Take pictures of the child in each of his daily activities, then print in a not very large size and plasticize to protect the images. These pictograms will serve you in countless situations, even if you go on vacation. You just have to take them with you and place them in a visible and organized place, so that the child sees them and knows what is the next activity to do.