Learning and Visual Supports

This week’s symposium topics including learning and visual supports. One set of resources that I particularly enjoyed was Temple Grandin’s Ted Talk and article on visual learning. Temple Grandin clearly articulates her thought processes and how they differ from the typically-developing individual. For example, an individual with autism may not think logically, but may think in associations. This is why maintaining an on-topic conversation is difficult: once something is said, the individual with autism may already be thinking of something else, instead of an appropriate response to the other person. However, Grandin makes a wonderful case for the benefit and advantage that different-minded thinking can make. In a world where there are visual learners, pattern learners, and verbal learners, different-minded learners should work together and collaborate to achieve the best result. To assist those with visual minds, using visual supports in therapy and in day-to-day life can help. Visual schedules help to keep individuals on-task with a picture of what they are expected to do, and a to-do list organized in the order that things must be accomplished. This type of organizational system helps to provide structure and expectations in day-to-day tasks.

Watch the TED Talk here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aF4sP-uC-yI


Jam Sessions Begin Again!

Two weeks ago, we began our spring semester Jam Sessions. It’s pretty wild to think that I’ve already seen one round of Jam Sessions and am now headed into another one! My perspective of Jam Sessions has changed as I’ve experienced more of them. I still look forward to them every week. However, now I have the great opportunity of deepening my understanding of what we’re doing.

My favorite part of Jam Sessions is that they are designed to reach individuals regardless of their levels of functioning, socially or cognitively. Some of our participants need the “social skills” part of the night (kindness, conversations, self control, etc.) in order to learn a new skill. For other participants, these skills are learned through the interactions with volunteers. And finally, for some, both the songs and the interactions cement their learnings.

It has been so great to watch our participants grow over the past 5 months, and I can’t wait to see how much more their grow during this new semester.