Early Learning Activities & Visual Supports

In FITT, the interventionist and parent work together to create or adapt a set of early learning activities to teach toddlers new skills and routines. These are highly visual activities that teach the toddler how to engage with toys (e.g. blocks, farm animals) and how to participate in play routines. The initial activities introduced during the table-based play routine typically have a very clear beginning and end, include a sensory component like preferred sounds or textures, are highly motivating, and build on the toddler’s strengths. Interventionists and parents informally assess the toddlers throughout FITT sessions to ensure activities target emerging skills and that activities are individualized to meet the toddler’s needs.

These may also include visual instructions such as a series of photos or objects that may be used to teach a multi-step play activity.  Single photos may also be used to provide support for toddlers as they are learning functional and symbolic play routines (e.g. a farm animal completes an action, such as the pig jumps, the horse sleeps). Activities may be visually organized which can include stabilizing them on a tray, providing containers for extra parts and pieces, and reducing the number of parts and pieces.

Additional visual cues, or reminders of what the toddler should be doing before, during or at the conclusion of an activity, have proven effective with young children with ASD and are part of the structured teaching strategies used in FITT. These include the use of visual countdowns which allow a toddler to “see” how much time remains in an activity, visuals for choice-making which allow toddlers to see a field of choices during activities, and visuals for expectations which help toddlers better understand rules and limits (e.g. stop signs at back door).  During FITT sessions parents identify routines and skills they would like to target and then together with the FITT interventionist may develop a visually structured activity or cue to help facilitate learning.

This photo library provides examples of activities and visuals that FITT interventionists and parents created for their toddlers.