April is Autism Awareness month and when I think of a subject that we can explore a little more to honor Autism Awareness month I think of visual support. What are visual supports? Visual supports are any visual aids that can assist individuals learn, communicate or navigate the world. They are basically anything you can see with your eyes ( seems redundant here, right?) that can help you in some way. Think of the blue sign with a woman stick figure, that’s what we generally look for when trying to find the ladies room. That’s a visual support or a visual aid to help you find the restroom.
Visual aids benefits everyone! One group of special humans in particular have benefited a lot of visual support: Individuals in the autism spectrum. Some children and adults in the autism spectrum use pictures to communicate as they are non-verbal. Others take advantage of it to help them understand language better. Special educators make use of visual support often in their classroom to assist a wide range of children.
In 2014, I co-founded a company called Smarty Symbols, and we have designed 22,000 symbols over the years to serve as a visual support system for children and adults. Our initial goal was to create contemporary images that could be as comprehensive as possible. As Smarty Symbols grew, so did the platform. Today Smarty Symbols offers not only the ability to access the 22,000 images but also to directly create the images within the portal itself on the printing center and the sharing library. Today we will explore the Smarty Symbols website. You can subscribe for only $45/year. That’s less than $4/month to access and create materials for your classroom or home.
The part form is very easy to use, and a variety of videos can guide you around the screens as well.
The first section of Smarty Symbols is the Download Hub. Here you can access the images and download them to your computer.
Images are easily accessible via categories. You can also search images by keyword and sounds. For example, you want to find all the images that end in the sound /f/.
The second area is the Printing Center. The printing center is the place you can select from our templates and create your own visual support pdf. file directly using a drag and drop tool.
One a template is selected, you can search for the images you want to use, place them on the template and be ready!
The last part of the website is the Activity Library. Here you get to keep your own materials stored on our website, as well as you can see materials created by other members of the website.
As you can see Smarty Symbols offers the ideal platform for the busy SLP or special education teacher to create visual support materials for their students. The best part is that it is a fraction of the cost of other more outdate solutions. Subscribe here http://www.smartysymbols.com for only $45/year