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Providing Academic Visual Supports

Some students learn best when given visual information. As you communicate course information in a variety of ways, make sure to provide the material visually for a student who needs academic visual supports. This document provides additional suggestions.

  • All students must be held to the same academic standards.
  • Do not provide any of the following supports if they compromise the essential requirements of your course.
  • Whenever possible, supports should be offered to all students in the class.


  • Make sure that all class information (tasks, instructions, projects, assignments, etc.) is clearly written and well organized.
  • Use a comprehensive syllabus that includes a written schedule and specific written time lines for activities, assignments, etc.


  • Use email to communicate information or to summarize information that was verbally discussed during an individual meeting with the student.
  • Whenever possible, provide written feedback regarding progress/grades and if appropriate, statements of ways to bring the grade up to the desired level.


  • Give students a visual indication of time allowed for in-class activities and tests (i.e. write remaining minutes on the board).
  • Provide copies of instructor notes, overhead/board information, changes in test/assignment dates or requirements, etc.
  • Whenever available, provide written list of key words, phrases, important ideas, etc.
  • Include rules of classroom behavior on your syllabus i.e. what topics or comments are not appropriate in class. If off-topic comments are made, redirect student back to the topic under discussion by using a logical link up or try the following”Thank you, now can you tell me one thing about (topic under discussion)?” Use “tell me” approach during discussions instead of open-ended questions.


  • Provide a detailed rubric for assignments, tasks and activities.
  • Provide samples of previous tests, successful projects, etc. as appropriate.
  • State in writing when, where and how to turn in assignments.
  • Provide clear written directions for essay questions.
  • For group projects, clarify in writing the student’s specific role in the group. Whenever possible, allow the student to prepare her/his academic contribution in advance of the group discussion.
  • When extra credit opportunities are offered, provide a variety of choices that draw on the strengths of many students.

The information presented above was adapted from a variety of sources. Please contact us to obtain the source information.