Autism Iceberg – free visual to document unseen supports needed for the child to be successful (print or fill in with SnapType app) – created by Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP at OMazing Kids

A free visual support for parents to use to help document the often unseen supports that they are providing that help their child succeed at school.

Unfortunately it’s common for evaluators who are not familiar with a child to state things like “But I don’t see any signs of Autism” or “But he doesn’t “look” Autistic” when they haven’t gathered all the info, looked deeper below the surface or even done any tests that would be part of the process to confirm that diagnosis.

This is especially unhelpful for a child who was accurately diagnosed with Autism at a very young age, has had years of intense intervention and they, their family, their teachers, their SLPs, etc… have worked very hard to make gains to achieve this level of success. You may mean well but pushing to change the eligibility category based on such limited info is harmful.

I worked with lots of kids, teens and young adults with Autism over my 28 year career. Most of the patients on my caseload either had that diagnosis or very similar needs.

So I know firsthand that Autism doesn’t just disappear. A particular individual’s needs may ebb and flow over time and can vary greatly even day to day depending on how they feel, sleep patterns, dietary changes, hormones, environmental sensory triggers, etc… And I’ve read numerous posts from adults with Autism who describe their part time use of AAC and varying need for supports depending on the needs, setting or communication partners. At it’s core Autism is a life-long neurological difference that we need to acknowledge, honor and support over the lifespan.


If you are in the process of completing an evaluation on a child you just met or don’t know very well, I invite you to:

  • Look deeper
  • Understand that Autism is a life-long neurological difference
  • Listen to that individual, their family and those who know them well regarding their journey and the types of supports that are needed in order for them to be successful
  • Remember what you are seeing in an eval, even one done over a couple of sessions, is just a tiny tip of a much larger unseen iceberg

I created this visual for the mother of one of the most amazing kids I ever had the pleasure of working with. I saw him for several years and his transformation was quite extraordinary.  But he still has Autism and still needs support. He has an incredible family who have always been willing to move heaven and earth to get him the services and supports that he needs. I have no doubt he will either discover or invent something that will be world changing. So when she reached out to me of course I had to do something. I will never “retire” from caring 💕

So I’m posting a FREE PDF and pictures of this in case anyone else might find it helpful.

If you want to print and fill out by writing in the boxes, there are three versions in this PDF (full color, faded color and black/white) so you can choose the one that best fits your printing needs: Autism Iceberg – Supports Needed for My Child to Appear Successful (free printable from Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP at OMazing Kids)

Or tap to open each full sized picture and then save the full sized picture of the one you want to the Camera Roll on your iPad or iPhone and then use the fabulous SnapType app to easily add text to the boxes. You can also take a picture of any worksheet to import it into that app to fill it in.

Full Color:

Faded Color:

Black and White:

App: SnapType by SnapType,, iOS Universal, iOS 9.0 or later, FREE.

If you want more features, check out their very affordable full version: SnapType Pro by SnapType,, $4.99. There are other PDF filler apps but this is by far the easiest one that I’ve used.

Example of me filling it out on SnapType (not specific to any particular child… just examples based on commonly occurring supports). After you are finished you can save it and export as a picture, as a PDF or as a SnapType file to share via e-mail or text message. The yellow highlighting only shows up while you are completing it… not in what you share.


I made this visual using the iESLp app by Irmgard Raubenheimer,, iPad only, iOS 8.3 or later. The SymbolStix symbols are included in that app. The iceberg photo is an open source, non-attribution photo that I found online.

Please feel free the share this blog post but do NOT upload the PDF, any of the pictures or any of the links to those items to any online files, servers, Boom Cards, Teacher Pay Teachers, or any other sharing platforms. Just refer folks here to this post to get the items for themselves. I feel that it’s important for them to read this blog post to understand why they were created.

Thanks 😊

Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC
AppPeeps Facebook Group:

Visual Supports with Voice Output for the “Win”! – Incredible 5 Point Scale and the GoTalk Now app

Visual supports with voice output for the “win”! I attended a presentation by Kari Dunn Buron, coauthor of The Incredible 5 Point Scale, at the Oklahoma Autism Conference offered by the Oklahoma Autism Network in 2017 and was inspired to make this for a patient who had been having a particularly difficult time and exhibiting a significant increase in aggressive behaviors. I watched for very subtle signs of increased agitation and modeled use of this to both talk about emotional states and offered choices to help calm before he got beyond a “Level 3”. He showed understanding of it the very first day and smiled when I acknowledged that he was struggling. He chose “go for a walk outside” and “go back to the house and rest”. The next day he spontaneously tapped “go for a walk outside” before he got beyond a “Level 2” and a huge smile washed over his face as we exited the sensory overload inside the building into the brisk air and total peace outside. I was often totally overstimulated by all the “Christmassy” stuff at our facility too so we ended up taking lots of walks outside 😉.

A video showing several boards including this one:

Thanks again Attainment Company, Inc. for making such a versatile app and giving me access to the most full featured version as well as several extras within it to help the patients at the nonprofit facility where I worked for the last half of my career. I was able to show this to his mother and she was very impressed with how easy this app is to program and to use for AAC and visual supports.

This app is definitely in the top 5 most used apps on my iPad. I saved this to the Online Gallery. Those who have either the GoTalk Now or GoTalk Now Plus versions of the app should be able to find everything that I have uploaded to the public Online Gallery by searching by my last name (Moorad) or a word in the title. See page 23 in the in-app Users Guide for info on how to find it.

There are several versions of the app with varying levels of features:

GoTalk NOW PLUS by Attainment Company, (most full featured, includes SymbolStix, offers PCS symbols (High Contrast, original and thinline) as in-app purchases, etc…)

GoTalk Now by Attainment Company,

Updated 4/3/22 to add: Encouraging Emotional Conversations in Children With Complex Communication Needs: An Observational Case Study (free access to the full research article & supplementary materials): The AAC app in the article is TD Snap but the concepts could be used when adding this type of vocabulary to any AAC system. If you have access to Grid for iPad / Grid 3, take a look at some nice preprogrammed content in the Voco Chat grid set.

GoTalk NOW LITE by Attainment Company, (FREE lite version, limited to 1 book with up to 5 pages, cannot backup, share or access the Online Gallery)

See this post about the current sale on their apps from 10/16 – 10/31/20:

(Note: Most of the content in this post originally appeared on my Facebook page on 12/12/17.

I updated some info from that to create this blog post.


Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC
AppPeeps Facebook Group:

(Please ignore any ads that may pop up. This is a free blog and I don’t have any control over ads nor do I profit from them)

Kids Yoga Class Tips: helping kids create class rules for a positive experience

Kids Yoga Class Rules

One of the most frequent requests I get via e-mail and Facebook messaging is for tips on handling behavior & setting rules/boundaries in a kids yoga class. I’m by no means the biggest expert among us in kids yoga but I have had quite a bit of experience in dealing with a wide variety of behaviors in my work at the JD McCarty Center. Because every situation is unique, I always respond by asking a few questions…..

  • How old are the kids in the class?
  • How many kids are in the class?
  • Do you have any adult helpers?
  • Do any of the kids have diagnosed special needs (ADHD, Autism, SPD, anxiety, etc…) that might be a contributing factor to the behavior?
  • How long is your class? How long is each activity within your class?
  • Where are you teaching the class? Does that setting have any rules that the kids should already be following?
  • What time of day is the class?

I primarily work with kids with special needs….. even the inclusive class I did last summer/fall had a few kids with special needs in it. There is a big difference developmentally between the ability of a 4 year old & an 8 year old to understand & follow rules. Many 4 year olds may have limited experience in a structured setting and may just be beginning to learn the concept of following rules. Most kids over the age of 6 or 7 probably understand the concept of following rules if they have been in a school setting.

Why Go To All This Effort?

Helping kids learn positive ways to treat themselves & others is something that will help them well beyond the particular class they are in with you at that moment in time. Think of it as an investment in “planting seeds” in that child’s life. Not all kids grow up in environments that are nurturing & provide positive structure….. so you may have a golden opportunity to help provide a positive influence and learning opportunity.

Yoga is so much more than just “poses” (asanas). It also includes Pranayama (breathing), Mantras (positive affirmations), Mindfulness (focused attention), Relaxation (includes guided imagery) & Yamas/Niyamas (character education).

A Balanced Approach to Yoga

yamas niyamas

10 Things I Do:

  1. I have kids help me write the yoga rules for their yoga class. What rules are important to them? This gives them ownership in the rules since they helped create them. Often they needed a few examples of rules & a simple explanation on “why” that rule was important to get the discussion started. Even for kids who are not at a developmental level to be able to “create” the rules, they could still help choose them out of a field of a few choices. As a fun craft activity, the kids can make a poster of the rules they helped create & then you will have the poster up as a reminder in the class. See an example of a simple 3-rule poster from my friends at Kid Partners ( 0000.1367070208.&type=3&theater)
  2. I use visual supports and a “social story” (, to help kids understand the rules. More posts about visual supports on my blog:   I tend to keep my “yoga rules” really simple. The main three rules I typically have are:
    1. Stay on your mat
    2. Mats stay on the floor. I also make it fun by having the kids pretend to “glue” down the corners of their mat with an imaginary glue stick (learned this tip from a post from Mira at Global Family Yoga)
    3. And something along the lines of “Use “kind” words” or “We’re always nice to our friends”.

     3 Simple Yoga Class Rules - click on pic to open 1-page PDFYoga Group Social Story

  3. I have adult “helpers” to help the kids that have more extreme behaviors. This is especially important if you work with kids with special needs. I recently had a child with Autism & schizophrenia in my class and she had very unpredictable & explosive behavior. With the loving support of adult helpers, she ended up having fun participating in our therapeutic kids yoga class at JDMC.  See this post:
  4. I’ve learned not to be too quick to judge whether or not a particular child is “enjoying” yoga or any other activities. I have seen many kids initially be resistant or ambivalent to yoga and other activities end up loving it when given the opportunity to experience it on their own terms & at their own pace within safe boundaries.
  5. I tend to ignore behaviors unless they are at risk of hurting themselves or others and keep moving with the class. If the class is fun and you are the most interesting thing in the room, most kids will be engaged with what you are doing. As a general rule of thumb, behaviors that get the most attention are “reinforced” and are more likely to occur again. So I intentionally focus more attention on what kids are doing “right” and give specific praise regarding the on-task & positive behaviors I see kids doing.
  6. I have also strategically assigned yoga mats so certain kids can’t sit next to each other & the most disruptive kids were right by me. I then assigned them special jobs to be my “helpers”.
  7. Sometimes it also helps to change up the pace of the class when kids start exhibiting behaviors. I have had kids lose interest if I stayed too long on a particular pose or activity, it was too hard/too easy or it was too overstimulating. I put alot of thought into choosing props & music for classes for this reason…… and depending on how a class is going I will often modify as I go to meet what the kids are needing at that moment.
  8. I almost always base my classes around a kids picture book. It gives the kids something to pay attention to, they get to “be” part of the story & a book gives structure of having a beginning & an end.
  9. When I am doing an after-school class, I keep in mind that kids have had to sit all day, may have lots of energy and need to move. One idea is to start out the class with a really upbeat activity to give the kids a chance to get the sillies out. Yoga Freeze Dance is always fave. Then gradually reduce the activity level to calm.
  10. I keep kids attention spans, developmental levels & special needs in mind when determining the length of my class or any activities I am doing within a class.

Want More Info?

Lisa Flynn’s new book “Yoga for Children: 200+ Yoga Poses, Breathing Exercises, and Meditations for Healthier, Happier, More Resilient Children” is full of great tips!

lisa's book

As of the date of this post, Amazon has it on sale for 39% off ( There are also some tips on this post on her ChildLight Yoga blog: yoga-class.html.

See these posts for more great ideas:




Feel free to share your tips & “tag” your page in the comments in this album on the OMazing Kids Facebook page. I love to connect & learn from others in the amazing kids yoga community:


Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, IAYT, RCYP-2

Speech-Language Pathologist at the JD McCarty Center for Children with Developmental Disabilities (

Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC – inclusive wellness activities for kids of all abilities

Radiant Child Yoga Certified – Levels 1 & 2



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OMazing Kids LLC is an organization that promotes inclusive wellness activities for kids of all abilities. The blog and social media pages share information about books, DVD’s, CD’s, games and other products specifically designed for kids wellness, mindfulness and relaxation, product reviews & giveaways, lesson plan & activity ideas, research, kids wellness in the news and a connection corner with listings of individuals doing adapted yoga and those offering trainings.

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Using Visual Supports in Yoga Groups for Kids & Teens – being inclusive of learning styles

Looking for ways to include kids & teens with different learning styles in your yoga groups? Want to use positive ways to support participation and reduce problematic behaviors? Then you might want to consider using “visual supports”.

Many of the kids I work with in OMazing Kids Yoga have difficulty understanding & following verbal instructions. This can be due to a difference in learning style (visual vs. auditory learner), difficulty maintaining attention (ex: ADD/ADHD), difficulty tuning out extra sensory input to be able to attend (ex: Sensory Processing Disorders), focusing in too much on an area of high interest to the point that the child has difficulty attending to other information (ex: Autism Spectrum Disorders), specific learning disabilities, etc…

Regardless of “why” the child is having difficulty understanding & following instructions, this will make it difficult for them to participate in a meaningful way in activities, including a kids yoga class.

Adding “visual supports” (ex: pictures of the poses, pictures to depict the sequence of activities that will occur in the group, pictures to show the “steps” within an activity, showing “first ____ / then _______”, etc…) can make a BIG difference for many kids.

Here are a few examples of visual supports I created to use in OMazing Kids Yoga:

Some kids do well with a “Social Story” describing the expected behavior and how that makes other feel:

Some kids do well with a left-to-right schedule showing what will happen in the group (other kids do better with a top-to-bottom type schedule):

(this file is saved out on Boardmaker Share at:

Some kids need extra visual cues to help them understand concepts:

(Note: These are just a few examples of the many different visual supports I use. Every child is unique so I often modify things or make new visual supports to meet those unique needs. Some kids do better with photos, black & white symbols or just words.)

Looking for PDF printable versions of some visual supports?  Here are a few: yoga breathing visual support (flower and candle), Social Story “Good Behavior in Yoga Group” with picture symbols, Peace Tree – guided visualization.

 How Do I Make These Visual Supports?  I use a combination of Boardmaker, MS Word, MS Paint, Google Images and the “snipping tool” in Windows 7. Boardmaker is a software program commonly used by Special Education teachers, Speech-Language Pathologists and other therapists to make communication boards, educational materials & visual supports for kids with special needs. Mayer Johnson offers a 30-day free trial of the program ( and free online trainings on how to use it (

More About Visual Supports

Visual supports help many children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other special needs understand their world better.

Just as many adults need calendars, to-do lists, shopping lists and planners to remind them of their activities for the day, many children need visual schedules and other visual supports.

Visual supports enhance understanding of what is going to happen and clarify expectations during that specific time period or activity.

In addition, visual supports often help the child move from one activity to the next with less frustration and reduced behavioral outbursts because the symbols turn the unknown into something the child understands.

The consistency provided by a visual support is crucial in establishing an atmosphere of trust and
security. Visual supports can also provide motivation for the child to work through a less preferred activity knowing a preferred/reinforcing activity is coming soon.

The type of symbols used, number of activities and amount of time shown on a visual schedule depend on the individual child’s needs.

If you want even more info about “visual supports”, check out these websites: 

NOTE:  Please ignore any ads that appear below the blue divider bar. This is a free blog site & I have no control over ads appearing here.

Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, IAYT, RCYP-2
Speech-Language Pathologist
Founder of OMazing Kids Yoga, LLC – inclusive yoga for kids & teens of all abilities in Norman, Oklahoma
Radiant Child Yoga Certified – Levels 1 & 2