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Welcome to Visual Supports & Beyond! This is a site about making creative visual and other supports for neurodivergent (mainly autistic and ADHD) children. It's about children because that is where my experience lies, but the theories behind what I do is just as easily applied to adults.   The site is currently being revised. It's been 10 years since I originally put it together, and in that time I've learned a lot and my thinking has evolved.

Now, when someone has an obvious disability or difference, such as person who can't walk, its not too difficult to understand the extra things they will need in order to live as independently and fully as possible.   To start with they'll need a wheelchair.   But also there are ramps or lifts to replace steps, maybe a hoist (and training for carers to use it), specialist bathing and toileting equipment (whole rooms in some cases), adapted vehicles, physio routines, coordinating sets of carers and family members, teams of professionals to provide and maintain all the equipment, the list goes on.  There is a network of people and things around our person who can't walk, compensating and adapting for the fact that they can't walk in a world designed for walking people.

The differences in neurodivergent people are not so visually obvious, especially in people who don't have an associated learning disability. That does not mean their differences don't cause them (and others) as many difficulties, both our person who can't walk and an autistic or ADHD person live in a world that is not designed for them.

So how do we organise a 'framework' for a neurodivergent person?   If we look at our person who can't walk, they didn't just pop down to see their local doctor who said "yup, you can't walk, that means you get a wheelchair, a hoist and a ramp on your front door".   They were seen and assessed by multiple professionals who looked at exactly how their disability affects them, what they could learn to do with extra support, what they would always struggle to do, and exactly what they would need to live as independently as possible.   Their framework was tailored to their unique set of difficulties.

Back to our neurodivergent person, as we can't see their differences, its harder to work out what they need help with.   We need to look at how their autism or/and ADHD affects their ability to function in a neurotypical (NT) world, and what we need to provide to enable them to be happy and even flourish. If we try and change neurodiverse people to make them fit in the NT world, we run the risk of damaging them. If you ram a square peg into a round hole, you damage the peg. If you try and force our person who can't walk to go up some stairs unaided, they'll get injured.
- First I'll look at the bits about autism that I think are important to keep in mind when planning, creating and delivering a visual support.

What? - Then I'll show you lots of examples of things I've made over the years, anonymised of course!

How? - Finally we'll look at some of the tools, tips and tricks I use when creating a visual or other support.

Occasionally I put my thoughts on a particular topic down on paper ahead of a talk or meeting, if I think these are useful, I'll link to them below.   Please remember, these represent my current view/opinion/thinking and are open to discussion and review!