My name is Marla Grogan, I am a stay-at-home mom of four girls. When our youngest daughter Keira turned two years old, she was diagnosed with autism. At that time, she had very limited verbal skills. Through her therapy and special education schooling, we learned about using the Boardmaker images and visual aids and schedules. It helped her understand the world around her and it really worked wonders for her. I began using the images and visual schedules with her both at home and out in the community. It was like a new world opened up for her! It helped us to communicate better with her, and she with us.
When Keira was 3, she started coming home on the school bus and she began having tantrums that turned into 1-2 hour long meltdowns every day! Due to her limited verbal skills, she couldn't tell us what was wrong. I gathered it was because she didn't understand what was happening. From her perspective, it probably seemed like she was plucked out of school (something she loves) out of the blue and put on a bus for no reason. She didn't understand what was coming next. I searched everywhere for something that would work for her; something that she wouldn't lose or drop on the bus. There wasn't anything out there. Through MANY trials and errors, both good and bad ideas, I finally came up with the idea to put her "going home" visual schedule on a bracelet. It worked like a charm! Her outbursts and meltdowns stopped the very first day she wore her bracelet. She was getting off the bus smiling. And that is when I knew I had something that could possibly help others, and then my journey into all of this bracelet making* began.
Keira is now 7 and we still use her visual schedules and communication aids every day. She may never "outgrow" using them, and that is okay with me!
Most of us rely heavily on visual information. Think about all of the visual supports you use every day: calendars, maps, road signs, grocery lists, etc... Visual supports not only keep us on task, they help convey what is expected or needed.
Like my daughter Keira, many children and adults with a cognitive developmental delay seem to respond positively to visual aids. In our experience, Keira responded better to a visual cue along with a verbal command, rather than to a verbal command alone. It could possibly promote independence and may help reduce anxiety when they can SEE what is to come. Any image that has meaning to the user can possibly help them understand what is going on around them when implemented correctly. Of course, each person and situation is unique. What works for one, may not work for another. This has just been our experience.
The information provided on this website is designed to provide helpful information on the subjects discussed and is meant for general informational purposes only. I am not a doctor or therapist, I am just a mother of a child with autism, sharing what has helped us. This website and its contents are not meant to be used to diagnose, treat or cure any condition. No warranties shall be made, expressed, implied or otherwise.
While our Visual Communication Bracelet worked wonders for Keira, please understand that it may not work for you, as each child and situation are unique.
Any references made on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute endorsement of any products, materials, websites or other sources.