Signs, Symbols, Flashcards and Visual Learner


Teachers who work with children who have Asperger’s Syndrome or ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) often use behaviour flashcards to manage low level disruption. The cards have a symbol and word, for example, ‘Good Sitting’ with an image of a child sitting at the desk or two symbols, for instance a ‘thumbs up’ with a picture of an open book (good reading).  

The cards are used successfully with the whole class and not only for the children who need them most. They are shown subtly as a warning to the child to correct behaviour as the teacher continues speaking to the whole class. For older children the cards are also a useful although the symbols and signs may need to be age appropriate; a mobile phone inside a red stop sign or a yellow warning sign with the picture of an ear.

The cards reinforce the rules and routines of the classroom, focus the child’s attention on the behaviour that needs correcting and encourage non verbal even subtle communication between the teacher and the child.  They might be used before you would give a verbal warning to allow the child to check their behaviour, to reinforce appropriate behaviour or as part of your structure for sanctions.

With 15 to 20 different flash cards on a metal ring you can soon become skilled at turning to the right card, showing the child and adjusting the behaviour without stopping your demonstration of the science experiment or taking your eyes from the class reading book. 

Pivotal is currently working with SEBD schools, MLD schools, PRUs, Secure Units and Specialist ASD/Asperger’s schools

© Paul Dix 2007

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