Visual Supports for Autism



Many individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder struggle at varying levels with both expressive and receptive communication skills. Significant difficulties in the area of auditory processing can impact their ability to process and understand language. These same individuals can also demonstrate a relative strength in the area of visual processing.  Research supports the many benefits of using visual strategies with individuals with Autism to support their daily communication needs as well as their comprehension of the world around them. As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words” and this is often true, especially for individuals who have strong visual processing skills. Auditory information is fleeting – once a message is spoken it must be immediately processed by the listener and cannot be retrieved or reviewed to support understanding. Visual information, on the other hand, can be present in the environment for as long as necessary and this allows the individual time to process the information presented. Visual supports can be referred to again and again to help the individual understand a concept or message.

This training looks at the importance of using visual supports and strategies with individuals with autism spectrum disorder - why they are beneficial, how we can implement them throughout an individual's day, and what tools we can use to create these supports in both low tech and high tech formats. In our work as Assistive Technology Specialists, we have the opportunity to work with these individuals and have created and implemented a wide range of visual strategies to support social skills, emotional regulation/behavior, communication, and academic concept development. We will share with our audience a wide range of low tech to high tech tools that can be used to create a variety of visual supports such as first/then boards, visual schedules, token/behavioral supports, video modeling, social stories, communication boards, visual flashcards, adapted books, and more.

Part of this half-day training will include a make-and-take where participants will be able to create some of the low-tech visual supports discussed.

Audience and Grade Level

Teachers, Specialists, Paraprofessionals; Grades K-12


Certificate of Attendance, 3 hours. 


Future training dates will be announced here. If you have questions or are interested in offering this training on-site, please contact us.


  • Jeanne Tuthill has worked in a variety of settings as a certified and licensed Speech-Language Pathologist since 1998 and joined the Center as an assistive technology specialist in 2008. She has presented on a variety of AT topics at both local and national conferences, and served as an instructor for a number of DESE statewide Assistive Technology courses.

  • thumbnail image of Maggie Dennis-Wurm

    Maggie Wurm is a bilingual (English/Spanish) certified Assistive Technology Specialist. She earned her certification after completing the Assistive Technology Applications Certificate Program through CSUN. Maggie started in the field of Early Intervention working directly with children with a variety of disabilities and found her love of working with this population. She also brings a valuable parent perspective through her hands-on experience living with Assistive Technology and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) for the past 15 years. Maggie joined CES' CCATT center in 2018, where she brings her unique and extensive experience to the team as a co-evaluator and consultant to area schools.

For more information, contact:
Events Coordinator
413.586.4900 x5981


A maximum class size is set for each course and registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. If the number of registrations for a course exceeds the maximum seats available or is too low to be able to conduct a quality learning experience, CES will inform you of available options.

Course Cancellation

If you wish to cancel your registration, please submit a request in writing (via mail, email or fax) no later than 7 business days before the workshop’s start date. After that, there are no refunds or billing adjustments.

In the event that a course is cancelled by the Collaborative for Educational Services, we will notify you as soon as possible. Please be sure to provide your best email address and phone number so we can contact you. Although every effort is made to avoid last minute cancellations, if an emergency arises, we will do our best to reach you at the phone number and email address you provide. 

Inclement Weather

Any delays or cancellations are posted online at You may also call 413.588.5979 after 6:30am for information about classes that day.