john doe

Visual bridges: Improving home-school communication – POPARD
Visual bridges: Improving home-school communication

Visual bridges: Improving home-school communication

By POPARD

Although most parents struggle to receive a detailed account of their child’s school day, this can be a particular obstacle for parents of children with ASD. Children with ASD often experience communication challenges that could make recounting their school day difficult. Therefore, it is important to have strategies in place to facilitate home-school communication.
A visual bridge is a home- school communication strategy that also facilitates student learning through journaling, reading and writing. A visual bridge is a template on which a student can record the activities they participated in at school. This template can be adapted for students who are beginning readers/ writers or students who require functional opportunities to practice their literacy skills (see examples). If using a visual bridge with picture symbols, it is important to use the same picture symbols as the ones used on the student’s visual schedule. Additionally, it is important to ensure that the visual bridge is developmentally and age appropriate.

Tips for creating a Visual Bridge for a student with emerging literacy skills and/ or lower cognitive skills:

  • Ensure the visual bridge is developmentally and age appropriate
  • Use the same picture symbols used for the student’s visual schedule
  • Provide visuals so that the student can complete as much as possible independently (e.g., writing their name, writing the date, word bank of vocabulary)
  • Provide sentence starters for the student to use to write about his/ her day
  • Include functional communication opportunities (e.g., What was the weather today? What clothes did I need to wear today? How did I feel today? Why did I feel like that?)

Tips for creating a Visual Bridge for a student with higher literacy skills and/ or higher cognitive skills:

  • Ensure the visual bridge is developmentally and age appropriate
  • Provide visual reminders for the student to use when writing (e.g., sentences start with a capital letter, sentences end with a period)
  • Include opportunities for making inferences (e.g., What was the weather today? What clothes did I need to wear today? How did I feel today? Why did I feel like that? What could I have done to change my mood?)
  • Include opportunities for the student to reflect and set some goals (e.g., Why did ____ happen today? How can I change that situation? What do I want to try to do tomorrow?)
  • Provide a space for the student to write about his/ her day
  • Alter the template on a regular basis so that students are focusing on different skills throughout the year

X