How do you know when you’re talking too loudly? The fact is, you probably don’t. But when you are in a room full of people, you can recognize when somebody else is speaking loudly. And if you don’t hear that person, it might be you! Individuals with autism similarly may have problems recognizing the volume of their voice. Especially when their emotions approach the extremes: happy, sad, or agitated. When we see students on the spectrum struggling with a somewhat abstract concept like modulating their voice output, a concrete visual is often the way to go.
Today’s free autism resource is a tool to help students understand and adjust their voice volume. All you need to do to prep the visual is laminate the attached PDF, print out a 1.5 inch square picture of the student you are working with, and add some velcro to the picture and each of the black squares.
Putting Together the Visual:
To use the visual, practice with the student by moving his/her photo as the level of their voice changes. It is always best to teach students new skills when they are calm, so if your student can role play a little bit that may work best to teach the concept. Make sure you help them understand what a quiet, louder, and too loud voice sounds like, as well as the effects of their voice on the people around them.
Keep this visual close by at all times – the more consistent you are in using it the more effective it will be. Over time, a great goal would be to have a student take more ownership of the visual and move their own picture as their voice gets louder and softer!