Using visual supports to impact independence in students with autism spectrum disorders in the mainstream school setting





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The research question addressed in this project was, in working with students with autism spectrum disorders, what impact does the use of visual supports have on increasing a student's independence in the mainstream school setting? Two middle school students with Autism Spectrum Disorders participated. Data concerning use of visual supports in the mainstream classroom was collected via interviews, observations of on-task behaviors, and recording number and kinds of prompts given to students. Findings back the use of visual supports in the regular education classrooms with improved attention to task, decreased need for prompts, improved social interactions, and increased student self awareness for participation and work completion. Implications of this study include defining the best methods of carryover to the least restrictive environment for the student, collaboration and assessment of student performance in using the visual supports, and time needed to create and integrate visual supports into the mainstream.

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