Music therapy: enhance learning through visual supports

Visual supports are extremely important and effective when working with children who struggle with receptive language. I often say my laminator is my greatest tool and although I say it jokingly it's very true.

When teaching a skill or academics through music we add pictures to give the information another avenue to be deciphered. Pictures help tell the story and will often correspond to a movement and/or a word or phrase which creates a multi-sensory opportunity for learning and participation.

Visual schedules: We frequently use visual schedules which greatly reduces anxiety and behaviors by making a situation predictable and structured. A picture schedule does not always work in a group setting as we may make changes to the plan depending on the needs of the group and in those situations we may use a visual timer.

Visual language: In our sessions we use sign language frequently. At times the sign language is part of the song and aids in telling a story or teaching a skill. At other times we use sign language to indicate "one more", "do you need help?", "Listen", "stop", "all done." Using a visual language in tandem with spoken language allows for a second avenue for this information to be relayed.

Visual aids accompany 90% of our session. Over the past few years my accordion binder of visuals has grown to be 4 large accordion binders of visuals and as the visuals increase so do participation and engagement.

Note: Creative Commons is a great place for finding public use images