HSBB 2504 - The Importance of Visual Supports

  • 1.5 PDHs
View available sections

There are three learning styles: Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic. Most individuals with developmental disabilities are visual learners and they understand what they can see better than what they hear. When working with individuals with developmental disabilities, it is recommended that you use visual supports or cues to aid in communication and thus understanding.

When working with adult and/or youth audiences, it is important to understand the visual learning style as well as how and why visual supports help individuals to be more successful in the learning environment. Visual supports allow individuals to do more on their own, and can be used as prompts, helpful in managing behavior and reducing anxiety as individuals transition between activities, schedules, or settings.

Visual support refers to using a picture or other visual item to communicate with an individual who has difficulty understanding or using language. Research has shown that visual supports or cues work well as a way to communicate. Visual supports are things we SEE that enhance the communication process. Ranging from body movements to environmental cues, visual supports capitalize on a person’s ability to gain information from the sense of sight. Visual supports include the following forms:
• Body language (facial expressions, movement of body)
• Natural environmental cues (printed material such as menus or directions on packages or machines)
• Traditional tools for organization and for giving information (schedules, maps, assembly instructions)
• Specially designed tools to meet specific needs (timers, task organizers)

Noncredit courses do not produce academic credit nor appear on a Colorado State University academic transcript.


HSBB 2501 (Overview of Disabilities).

Please note that there are no refunds for open entry courses.

Textbooks and Materials

All materials are supplied within the online course.


Michelle Brill

Michelle Brill is a Family & Community Health Sciences Educator and Associate Professor at Rutgers Cooperative Extension. She provides programming in the areas of food, nutrition and health for diverse urban and suburban audiences. She is an experienced educator of children and young adults with multiple developmental disabilities. Michelle provides professional development at local, state and national levels for Extension personnel; volunteers; school and early care personnel; and nutrition professionals to help them effectively meet the needs of people with developmental disabilities. Her publications on this topic have appeared in the Journal of Extension and The Forum for Family and Consumer Issues. Michelle has received awards from the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, and Epsilon Sigma Phi for her work with diverse audiences. She is a member of the eXtension Diversity and Inclusion Issue Corps, eXtension Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Community of Practice, and the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents Diversity Task Force. Michelle has a Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University

Learn more at: http://mercer.njaes.rutgers.edu/fchs

Jeannette Rea-Keywood

Jeannette Rea-Keywood has a BS in Home Economics Education from Rutgers University and an MS in Agricultural and Extension Education from The Ohio State University. She is an Associate Professor with the Department of 4-H Youth Development in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University.

Jeannette has worked with a variety of diverse audiences including individuals with developmental disabilities and emotional and behavioral disorders. As the Cumberland County 4-H Agent for 23 years in the most economically depressed county in New Jersey with an extremely high prevalence of issues related to drugs, teen pregnancy, school dropout and more, her program reached 1,500 traditional 4-H club members and between 4,000-5,000 youth annually through school-enrichment, special interest, and camping programs. With regard to the ethnic composition of the county, more than 50% of the population is Hispanic and Black.

In the county, Jeannette focused on traditional 4-H programming as well as on developing community partnerships; coordinating 21st Century grants; working with diverse audiences; and conducting a variety of experiential and inquiry-based STEM education programs. She was successful in securing funding and developing gardening and science programs with an emphasis on developing workforce preparation skills for children with autism at the Devereux School.

Since 2012, Jeannette has been a member of the state 4-H staff and works primarily in the areas of marketing, communications, and teen leadership and personal development.

- Footer - Landing