Using Social-Emotional Visuals in Therapy

One of the first things I look at when troubleshooting a less-than-amazing therapy session is, “Did I use visuals?” Or, if I had some sort of visual cue in place, “How can I use visuals better?”

Janie forgot the second part of the two-step direction every single time? Use a first/then chart.

I had to repeat the directions 27 times? Have a completed example for students to look at.

Johnny got frustrated when doing independent work, then shut down the remainder of the session? Give him picture icons to help identify his emotions and give him a way to ask for help.

Language is abstract, and it involves listening, processing, storing information, then organizing and formulating a reply. A process made much more complicated when a speech and language impairment is involved. Visuals offer one more path of input for all the information we throw at our students. Multimodal learning, anyone?

A recent way I’ve started using visuals in therapy relates to that last example, when students need some extra help identifying emotions and/or communicating when they become frustrated or angry. I created desk visuals, made to be used on the therapy table or in the classroom (or both!) to provide visual examples of emotions, as well as some prompts to ask for help. And the best part–they are editable!

Any Zones of Regulation users out there? I color coded them to easily match up with the different zones! I love how they can help my students advocate for themselves, especially during carryover in the classroom. Get them in my store HERE!

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