Monthly Archives: April 2020

Communication for All: Interactive Shopping List

This is similar to our Now/Next and First/Then Boards. You can use this on a smart phone or tablet by downloading PowerPoint or keynote etc. Then stretch the page to see all the visual and using your finger drag what you need onto your shopping list. This also work if you are shopping for someone who cannot leave their house. They would simply screenshot their shopping list and send it as a photo.

Click the link below to download.

Shopping List Interactive




Card Game Rules

Card games are hugely popular. Using visuals alongside verbal and written rules make them easier to explain and understand.

Snap Rules

Go Fish


We will be adding more resources to this blog post so please comment with other games you would like to see visualised.


PDF Version Available here card games

Go Fish

Communication for all: Talking Boards

Beginning a conversation can be difficult. Sometimes we want to talk but our brains are too busy processing to find the starting point. These tables below can be used to help. They can be used using open questions such as “What do you like about ___” or closed questions “Do you like…” These can be used to support people who communicate only with their eyes or who can point. They can also be used with people who have no issues verbally but sometimes struggle when nervous.


As adults, how great would these be in situations such as job interviews, when your nerves take over?

We will continue to add more.

PDF Version available here Conversation Boards

Communication for All: Shopping Lists

Having a shopping list is great for all ages. It means that you can shop for just what you need, you won’t forget anything or to keep others on track during the shopping visit.

When there are times that shopping trips for necessity need to become a single person (or single parent) event, having other members of the household create a shopping list can allow them some normality by making them feel part of the experience. Allowing your young person/child/partner/elderly relative to write or draw their shopping list gives them indepedence and control. (See our previous posts about the importance of control)

For some of our family and friends who are experiencing health issues – particularly associated to memory, we use these images below which we stick on to each appliance. Once we have completed the shopping we add visuals (or write words) to show what is inside the fridge/freezer/cupboard. Once the item has run out ( for example the milk) the visual (or word) is added to the shopping list.



PDFS Available here Shopping List

Understanding Autism Powerpoint

John’s Powerpoint

This PowerPoint was created by an autistic child who wanted to help people understand what autism means to him. He has given his permission to share this and hope it helps. 

Autism Awareness Week

This PowerPoint was used to try to explain how the brain works for Primary children but can be used for all ages. Although the title is Autism Awareness Week, it can be used at any time.

What you might need to make your own ‘first and then’ board.

Our last post gave instructions on how to make your own board on a tablet or smart phone. This post will include examples and some of the symbols and resources you may need. Remember to save as image (if using a smart phone or tablet) or right click and save as picture (if using a computer).

First and then board

Chore Symbols

Getting Dressed Symbols

Tidy room symbols

First and Then chore boards

These boards have the chores on them, they are both the same except one board uses the words ‘now/next’ and the other uses ‘first/then’.

now and next chore first and then chore

First and Then getting dressed boards

first and then getting dressed now and next getting dressed


Tidy Room Boards

first and then tidy room    now and next tidy room

Interactive first and then board

Some of our families and many of our schools use first and then boards or now and next boards. Whether you call them first and then or now and next, it doesn’t matter as long as you are consistent. If you do go between the two, remember you have to explictly teach that first/now mean the same and then/next mean the same.

Did you know that you can create your own interactive one on a tablet or smart phone? All you need is to download Powerpoint (or Keynote etc) onto the tablet or phone.

We will upload a couple of examples here that you can download by clicking on them or if there is a particular one you need, leave us a comment and we can make and send you it.

Step 1. Download Powerpoint (or Keynote etc) to Tablet or Phone.

Step 2 : Click  now and next  for an example board.

Step 3:  Once the page opens, zoom out so that you can see all of the symbols.  

Step 4: Drag and drop the symbols onto space you want it to be in.

Step 5 : Zoom in so you can only see the now/next and required symbols.

NB If using an iPad or iPhone check guided access is on in settings (you will find this under General – Accessibility-Learning-Guided Access). If you turn this on, you can effectively lock the screen so the child/young person can only have access to the board. (triple click the home button to activate and deactivate)


Information About Autism

This information is designed for teenagers and adults in order to gain more understanding about what being autistic means.


My brain processes communication differently so I may need you to change the way you say something, how long our communication lasts or how long it takes for me to answer you.

Sometimes I know you are talking to me, but I cannot focus on what you are saying because my brain is trying to process too much information.

I may not look at you because looking at you means my brain has to process how you look and try to work out what your body language and face is saying.

My brain has to work really hard to do this, so sometimes in order to process what you are saying I won’t look at you.

I may misunderstand situations with others and it may take me time to move on from this.

For example I may become upset if you ask me to be quiet because my brain processes that as me being given into trouble. I have to work through this

process and might need help.

I may base my communication on past experience which means that sometimes I may react in an unexpected way.

For example if someone has laughed when I have said or done something     before, I may expect others to react the same way.

This works the other way too -if someone laughs at something I say or do and that is not my past experience, it may take me time to move on.

If someone reacts differently to what I expect, my brain starts trying to work out why the reaction was different.

If you are asking a group I am in to do something, I may not initially process that you are asking me to do something too so I may respond slightly later than others.




Naming Emotions

We have previously spoken about the importance of giving children and young people the name of emotions as this helps to validate the feeling and to give them some control over it. We are going to be adding more emotion resources below as we have them ready. This resource offers children and young people strategies to help them to cope when they feel a certain way. Sometimes it is about focussing on a distraction until the emotion feels smaller. This allows children and young people the opportunity to be able to face and deal with their emotion appropriately.

It is important that once children and young people have worked through this, they can edit this and add in the strategies that work for them. So we are including blank sheets too.







Coping Strategy- Work to distract

We have spoken so much about the impact of anxiety on children and young people (and on parents). We are now going to look at different coping skills. Today our focus is on those who need to work. Just like adults, there will be children out there who cannot face school work yet. That is okay! This is a slow process, we have time. We do not need to apply pressure if that is going to make them feel worse. We allow them to develop and use their own coping strategies. If they don’t have any, we help them by showing them what we do to cope. We allow them breaks from their anxiety by having fun – timing one another to see who can wear the most clothes at once; going for a walk and pretending every piece of litter is an animal in the jungle that we have to sneak past and not waken; building lego; watching a movie; having a bubble bath. There are so many things we CAN do.

For others, the need to work is there. For some they are experiencing huge anxiety and need to work to distract themselves. This is their coping strategy and is okay as long as they also take the time to deal with their anxiety. Some children and adults work because they enjoy it. This is okay too!

We are attaching a document below for those who want to or need to work. It is a focus on literacy and looking at nouns, verbs and adjectives. Attached are photos so can be done on a tablet by saving to photo and editing.


Page 1 is a visual to show what a verb. noun and adjective is.



Pages 2-9. If you save as photo. Open in your tablet/smart phone and click edit. Now you can circle, underline or draw lines to match as appropriate.

PDF Available here Noun Verb Adj Task


Remember this is not about pressure, it is about relieving anxiety. So do as much or little as you want. Most importantly, take care of yourself!

How do we Get It Right For Every Child at home?

So much of what we are doing is focusing on easing anxiety and maintaining relationships. Many schools and parents are finding it hard to keep the link with home and school. This isn’t about recreating school at home, but at looking at a different perspective of education.

Some children will, no matter how hard we try, still be experiencing anxiety or stress. Some children will need the routine of ‘doing school’ while others will need to do something entirely different from school. Some parents will be worrying that their child will be falling behind their peers; others will be exploring others ways to learn. Some parents didn’t have good experiences of school when they were young, so for them to try to re-enact this may be causing them more stress.

All school use GIRFEC (Getting It Right For Every Child) to ensure we are supporting children the way they need to be supported. We have tried to adapt these to help break down some of the confusion, worry and stress. We have broken down what is called the indicators to try to make sense of How Right You Are Getting It.

Dear Parents,
You are doing a great job.


Dear Parents,
Look at all that you are doing right!
Love from,