If you do speech therapy with students on the autism spectrum, you probably hear over and over again that you need incorporate visuals to help your students increase comprehension. Visuals can be so helpful for students! So how can you incorporate visuals when working on WH questions in speech therapy? Here are some ideas!
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Using WH Questions with Visual Choices
This is where most people start – offering a field of 2-4 visual choices to answer a WH question. Using visual choices is a great strategy that I definitely use. Unfortunately, this is where most people stop incorporating visuals as well.
Offering just visual answer choices helps students comprehend the choices, but not the question. . . Let’s take a step back and look at some other places you can incorporate visuals to help the student understand the question AND the answer choices!
Visuals to Increase Comprehension of the Question
If your students benefits from extra help understanding the question, you can make WH- question activities (or purchase them) that include a visual that relates directly to the question.
That might be a single illustration or picture related to the question, it might mean you are looking at a picture scene that you can use gestures to point out helpful parts of the scene, or it might be incorporating the students AAC device. Since many high-tech AAC devices already include visuals, using aided language input while you are asking the question to your student provides automatic visuals as well as language modeling!
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Using Visuals to Teach the Types of WH Questions in Speech Therapy
It is also really important to teach the types of WH questions and the types of possible answers before your start “quizzing” your student with mixed WH questions. (That’s not to say that you shouldn’t get a baseline before you start working on this skill with students, but I have seen some newer therapists jump right into asking questions without incorporating the teaching piece.)
WH Question Visual – Free Download!
Varying the Answer Choices
After teaching the type of WH- Question you want to target, you can start by presenting answer choices that are all the same type of answer choices (such as all places for a “where” question) while you point out the WH word used and the type of answer. (This is where the chart is helpful!)
Once the student has mastered that, you can move on to presenting answer choices with mixed types (a place, a person, a thing, etc.) that are related so that the student has to really pay attention to the type of WH question you are asking.
RELATED: Apple Activities for Speech Therapy
Don’t Forget to Fade the Visuals!
I’m all about using visuals to teach and to make the demands accessible, but don’t forget to fade visuals as the student gains skills!