I have to say that I am yet to have visual scene displays work well for a student. There is almost NO research to back up what is written above and the research that has been done was conducted mostly on 1) adults with aphasia, 2) typical preschoolers, 3) a very, very small sample of very young students with autism.
I want to see some serious studies comparing VSD to typical grid display.
The information I received from the original author did specifically list several studies that were done, but they seem to be on populations other than students with disabilities. I think that is a major deficit of VSD. Schools, parents, and teachers need research to help make the best decisions.
Another comment from Kate:
Think about it - a traditional display has symbols in cell of any size. Where the symbol begins and ends is clearly defined. There is no cognitive load as to figuring out what is a symbol and what is just background.
This again makes sense to me. I've seen this many times with students, plain backgrounds, simple pictures work best. I use this with my current classroom and have great success. Here's one last comment from Sandy:
An addendum. I only voiced my opinion on VSD's for primary communication. I'm actually in favor of VSD's for fun and teachable activities. On Adaptedlearning.com, Maryannsdad posted a fun Christmas VSD. For instance, if you touch the plate of cookies - it asks you to pick what you're going to leave Santa. So it's a fun exploratory activity - the user is not trying to find something they need to communicate.
Now this is something I would use, and it makes sense, based on my experience. While I am not against this type of system, I don't think it appropriate for students with significant cognitive disabilities.
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