The insiders look on why of the flash cards work so well
- Bright colours are used to draw the attention of children
- Each card features a different colour this will help the children remember the cards. Children are visual learners and associate colours and images with meaning before words.
- Simple flat 2D images are easier for children to understand than 3D images.
- The font used is a clean San Serif typeface, which makes it easier for children to read.
- By not using capital letters it keeps all the letters the same size and less rigid. This helps with children who are learning to read or have reading/learning issues.
- Depicting both girls and boys of light and dark skin tones help children relate to the images and not feel singled out.
- Not having hair on any of the swimmers and having simple swim suits in the flash cards helps focus attention on the body moment not what the person looks like.
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View some of our flash cards
It is well known that children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are visual learners. A range of visual supports are often incorporated into school and home life to help enhance access to information, and improve quality of life. This includes teaching social skills, expressing wants and needs, and reducing anxiety through the creation of a schedule. Children with ASD often struggle to transition between activities, especially when activities are unexpected, creating a high level of anxiety. These visual supports not only create an avenue for communication, but they also increase comprehension during the task.
Visual schedules are a visual representation of the tasks that will happen throughout the day or during an activity. It breaks down a task, reducing anxiety associated with transitions, whilst also increasing understanding of the activities.
Generalisation of skills is important for all children with special needs, therefore encouraging the use of these schedules within all social encounters is beneficial for both the child and the teacher. This technique has a long history in educational and home settings, and thus lends itself well to a swimming environment. The creation of these specific visuals, adapted for swim education, now provides the opportunity for swim teachers to implement them in classes for children with ASD and other special needs.
A major advantage of these visuals is the ability to prepare the child for non-preferred activities within the lesson, reducing anxiety associated with tasks. Not only can the child see what is required, but it also enables them access to communication and the ability to express their wants within their lesson.
The benefits of using these visual supports affect not only the child, but the teacher and parents, ensuring a positive and rewarding environment.