Learning Visually

Remember the "90/10" Rule for Visual Learners

Definition of a Visual Learner  - "Children that process and retain information better, if it is presented in a format where it is written down and can be seen, as opposed to information that is primarily heard” (Tissot & Evans, 2003).

What you may see in a Visual Learner  -

  • They are right-brain dominant
  • Visual learners tend to look upwards in response to questions
  • They are interested in how things work, patterns, shapes and sizes.
  • They may learn to read whole words before learning the individual letters of the words and their sounds
  • They make sense of the world through images
  • They tend to remember faces and colours


     Over to you -  Have a think now, about the type of activities and tasks you see them do with confidence. 


Preparing a Visual Support - When in doubt, we all look for some form of visual information, such as parking the car in a space and feeling confident that you won't get booked! Looking at the image below, will you feel confident in the decision that you make? Maybe not, so it is important that the visual information that is provided to the learner clearly clarfies expectations and that the instruction is clear. The detail in this image is too cluttered, and requires the reader to carefully process and work out what to do with the information. 


How does this relate to students with ASD in particular?

  • Research indicates that the visual skills of individuals with ASD are superior to their skills in other areas
  • They are better able to comprehend permanent visual information because the message is present long enough for them to take in and process the information
  • Programs that use visual strategies are highly effective
  • One of the most important strengths in ASD is the visual learning style, so...

It is best to increase the visuals and control the verbal instruction that you provide because they are,

(Hodgdon, 1996)

This means that as visual learners, they are "doers" and they need time to "process". A visual will help them process information efficiently. Therefore, you could do try to:

  • Increase the use of visuals such as personalised lists and schedules
  • Use diagrams to organise information and to see the relationships between concepts
  • To address their processing capacity, break down a task, rather than give the whole task. See my blog on task analysis. 
  • Write down instructions
  • Eliminate the unncessary detail around their learning spaces. Keep it distraction free, make available the visual information that supports the student to complete the activity. Physical organisation of learning spaces is vital.