Visual Strategies Prove Successful For Children with Autism
Caity Bryant was diagnosed in 1998 with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). At age three, Caity was non-verbal, showed no interest in other children, and had temper tantrums about everything. Things started to change when her mother, Marianne Bryant, heard Linda Hodgdon speak at a local conference about the positive effects of using visual strategies. Until then, Marianne feared Caity would never talk if she saw pictures. Linda helped her recognize that visual supports could be used to help Caity understand communication better and improve her behavior.
"Children with autism understand what they see, better than what they hear," says Linda Hodgdon, director of Cornerstone Communication Center. "Visual strategies won't fix every problem the students have, but they will provide a valuable framework to support their lives."
After Linda's presentation, Marianne walked away with ideas that she put to work immediately with Caity. Nine years later, Caity is an honor roll student and active in drama at her school.
"Caity would not be where she is today without visuals. Linda Hodgdon is the one who headed us in the right direction," states Marianne Bryant. "Her practical, easy-to-implement techniques have made an incredible impact on my life and my daughter's life."
Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States, with 10-17% annual growth. One child in 150 births will be diagnosed with autism. In ten years, the expected annual cost of autism will be $200-400 Billion.
"Families and educators are desperately searching for solutions for their child's challenges. Sharing information that really makes a dramatic difference is what keeps me going," states Hodgdon. "My passion is providing valuable tools that help students and their families become better communication partners."