Monday, February 23, 2015

2015 Special Education Conference: Linda Hodgdon, Visual Strategies Part 1

Our keynote speaker on the first day of the conference was Linda Hodgdon.
Her presentation..........

 Linda Hodgdon, M.Ed, CCC-SLP is known as a pioneer in developing the use of visual strategies to support communication for students with Autism. She is an author, a speaker and a consultant.

The first point that Ms. Hodgdon made was that our way of using visuals has made some big changes. We have come from using pictures on paper and cardboard to using Facebook, Twitter, and ipads.
The key word is "spectrum", visual strategies are different for each individual, there is a wide range of intellectual and skill levels within the spectrum. We need to consider the learning styles, social needs, visual tools available and what kind of social participation is wanted.
Communication is not just about directs where we are going, what to do when we get there and much more. Visuals are not a better or worse way to communicate, but simply a DIFFERENT way to communicate.
The majority of Autistic people are visual learners. As a matter of fact, MOST of us are visual learners.
She recommended a book by John Medina titled Brain Rules. It's not about Autism, it's about all of us.
We learn and remember best through pictures, when information is presented orally, 10% is remembered. When it is presented visually, we remember 65%. We pay lots of attention to colors, shapes and movement. (think about the educational apps)
Beware of the assumption
 "He understands everything I say".
Think about the ways we communicate while verbally directing:
  • routine language
  • gestures
  • communication supports
  • learned routines
  • environmental cues
Ask yourself:
What kind of communication partner are you?
speech, sign, pointing, gestures, body language, pictures, written language...
The typically developing child processes 20 words per minute, by the time they are in high school they might be able to process 145 words per minute. Many teachers and parents deliver information at 150-160 words per minute!
Think about Mr. Rogers and how he talked to his audience!
Sometimes we don't communicate as well as we think we do!


Video is huge.

Video is visual, predictable, and the same things happen! We have them readily available in our phones and they are easily edited. Video modeling can help with.....
  • social communication and interaction
  • functional skills
  • behavior
  • academics
  • play skills
But there are pit falls....what are they learning from TV shows, video games?    Violence.
Technology is NOT magic. Don't forget to identify the purpose!

You can sign up for her free newsletter at this website.
I attended another session with Ms. Hodgdon titled "Time, Travel and Transition:  Overcoming Daily Challenges with Visual Strategies" and will share that information later this week.