Free Resources for Making Visual Supports

The new school year is upon us. The frantic rush to set up the classroom, make communication boards, visual supports etc. but you don’t have the necessary program or money to purchase your own software. Check out these free resources for creating visual supports fast and free.

Quick Pics from Patick Ecker

Connect Ability, Create Visual Supports for your child, visual engine.


Picto4Me: An app for your computer that you can install to Chrome

AAC Ferret

With over 300 AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) apps available, finding the right one for your needs can be very difficult and time-consuming. With AAC apps ranking among some of the most expensive apps available, it is also costly to make mistakes! The AAC Ferret helps you to quickly find the AAC app(s) with the exact features you need!  This app was developed by the wonderful team at Spectronics in Australia.  Here’s an introductory webinar from the Spectronics team explaining the app.


FaceTime as a Communication Vehicle for Individuals Using Sign Language

For millions of people, hearing loss presents many everyday challenges. Communication may be one of the biggest challenges of all (sharing information, feelings and exchanging ideas, in person or by phone).  Although technology is advancing constantly, in the past, persons who are deaf or hard of hearing relied on phone technology such as amplifiers or relay systems sometimes involving a third party.  Facebook, Instagram and other social networking tools are now making spontaneous conversation easier for folks who are deaf or hard of hearing.

I was sitting in Panera the other day and saw a young man signing with a friend using FaceTime on an iPad.  I had the best feeling seeing this interaction.  These two were laughing and having a spontaneous distance conversation by signing with each other.  Imagine how liberating this was!

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MAKE IT Videos

We all love great visual supports!  Even better….we love videos on how to make visual supports.  Tots ‘n Tech (Tots ‘n Tech Research Institute, Arizona State University) has a great Pinterest site filled with videos on how to create simple AT supports. You will find videos on lots of AT ideas including making grocery lists, Lego word building, shower time fun and nap time routines.   If you are not visiting Pinterest these days, you are missing out!

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Quick, easy and free visuals

We all need to find things that are quick, easy and free, especially when it comes to making visuals for the classroom.  Picto4me is a free app for the Chrome browser.  Download it through the Chrome app store and it will be added to your browser.  Now you can create and save board to your google drive account without having to search for a disk or another program.  Here’s a little video showing how easy it is to use.




Makey Makey as a 2 Choice Communication Device

Last month we held a Makey Makey workshop.  Our participants had great fun creating switch accessible activities for their students.  Here was one simple idea that one of our teachers did.  The pie tins were a great idea and only require the slightest touch to activate and they can be  used for a variety of access points.

MakeyMakey as a 2 choice communication device from Training & Technical Assistance on Vimeo.

Active Participation for Older Students

Active participation by older students who use AAC can sometimes be a challenge if the materials and activities are not “age-respectful” (thank you Caroline Musselwhite) or if they are not motivating.    Consider using the Participation Model by Beukelman & Mirenda, 1988; 2013. The Participation Model is a framework for understanding the barriers to participation and then from a practical intervention standpoint developing strategies and activities to increase active participation in a variety of (ALL) aspects of life.  Again I found a great blog post that provides ideas and resources for making this happen!