Using visual strategies to teach social language

When you are working with a student that has language and social pragmatic difficulties it may be harder for you to verbally explain a social skill or rule. Many of these students are visual learners so you need to think of how can I assist them visually.  There are a variety of resources that can assist in this:

  • You can use stories and illustrations in the story to help point out different skills
  • Photos that demonstrate expected and unexpected social behaviors
  • Videos that show a particular skill in action. Clips from popular television shows or movies are great especially if they are an over exaggeration of the social skill or the actor is very expressive.

There are also some research-based clinical tools that have been developed.

Carol Grey has developed  Comic Strip writing to help illustrate the different levels of conversation that are taking place at the same time. The use of color and speech bubbles assist in this.

Carol Grey Comic Strip Conversations


Another way to assist in looking at social behavior is the use of social mapping. This assists the student in understanding the two different avenues of the behavior. It helps the student connect with the behavior, emotions and the consequences of the behavior.

Here is an article from Michelle Garcia Winner that explains the process.

Michelle Garcia Winner on social mapping

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4 comments on “Using visual strategies to teach social language
  1. Helpful resources thank you! For the comic strip drawings, do we definitely need to let the students draw it out themselves, or can we prepare visuals ourselves to help them under social stories?

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