Autism communication question “Where do you store your visual tools?”

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A frequent autism communication question I receive is about how to store and organize your visual tools.  It’s an important question.  Once you really become a “believer” of using visual supports, you’ll very naturally begin developing more visual  tools to use for the many communication needs in the life of your child or students.  The question that surfaces pretty quickly is, “How do you store them?”

Important question.  Unfortunately, there’s not a simple answer.  But I made a discovery this week that may provide part of a very workable answer.

My journey started when I went to one of my local office supply stores looking for a rolling file cart.  The one I have now is quickly “dying.”  It wobbles and won’t roll and just plain needs replacing.  The sales person steered me to a cart that “would work.”  Of course they were out of stock, so she offered to have it shipped.  Fine.

When the box arrived, I discovered that the cart I purchased was broken down into about 50 pieces.  It looked more like an erector set than a file cart.  My non-mechanical brain envisioned hours of frustration assembling it, so I quickly packed it back up to return it to the store.  (I couldn’t even get all the pieces back in the box!  Has that ever happened to you???)

After a little more searching, I found a perfect replacement rolling file cart.
First, it was easy to assemble.  I didn’t need to hire an engineer to do it!  Took less that 10 minutes.
 Autism communication question Where do you store your visual tools? Autism communication question Where do you store your visual tools?
This rolling file cart will roll easily where I need it and it will hold plenty of files.  It’s low enough to store under a table or a shelf.  It’s much more sturdy than the one I’m replacing, and best of all, it looks good.  Aesthetics always help.

My favorite box bottom-closed side file folders  work well with the cart.  I love the ones with a box bottom and closed sides.  Box bottoms work really well to hold several items or for more bulky visual tools.  The closed sides keep pictures from falling out of the folders.

While I was shopping for my rolling file cart and file folders, (with storage options on my mind), I found one more awesome storage cart with drawers that could work really well for some people.
 Autism communication question Where do you store your visual tools? Autism communication question Where do you store your visual tools?

This cute cart has lots of drawers which can help keep visual tools organized.  You can label one drawer for each student.  Another option is to designate one drawer to hold visual tools for each activity or time of day.

 Autism communication question Where do you store your visual tools? Autism communication question Where do you store your visual tools?There’s even a 15 drawer storage cart with wheels.  Autism communication question Where do you store your visual tools? Autism communication question Where do you store your visual tools?

Organization is a very personal thing.  These carts and folders are options that will work really well for me.  Your style of organization may be different from mine.  That’s OK.  It’s critical to organize in a way that matches how you personally function.

What is most important is to find places to keep those visual tools.  They need a “home.”  Then you’ll be able to find them when you need them.  If you can do that, your efforts to support communication with visual tools will be more successful.

I’ll share more organizing tips in another blog.  There are even more answers to the Autism communication question “Where do you store your visual tools?”

 

 

Greetings Linda,
Thank you for sharing with those of us whose passion is learning and growing to support those diagnosed with ASD/Asperger’s. As a parapro (20 years) I have to keep my “tools of the trade” organized. Enjoyed your tips and suggestions and thought I would share one of my portable, totally functional finds with you. It is the Pacon Overhead Projection Caddy Bag now known as Luann’s Stylin’ Bling Belt. Seriously, it has 3 pieces with 6 storage pockets made with nylon and see-through plastic all attached to an adjustable locking belt. Instead of going around the base of an overhead projector it is worn around my waist. Organized and filled with visuals (which are visible to students if needed), post-it notes, timer, and other small sensory support tools it provides instant hands-on availability for me.
As you stated, organization is a personal thing. Having access to my visuals and tools used on a daily basis affords me the ability to think outside the box and be creative all within a hands reach. (Sometimes without even looking!)Plus, there is even room for a piece of chocolate.
I am saving, on a para’s budget,to purchase both of your publications to add to my personal library. Thank you so much for all you do for parents, teachers,and the children who live in the wonderful, yet different, world of Autism.

Hi Linda,
Thanks for sharing a resourse. I’ve seen this cart many times over the years and always wanted one for my scrapbooking hobby not even thinking of another use. They often have this on sale at Michael’s craft store or they always have a 40% coupon to use. Haven’t seen the “double wide” version, I really like that one too.
I store all my small Boardmaker pictures in a long index card filing box that I purchased at an office supply store. This way the pics are stored in alphabetical order (the dividers come in the box) and I can put ALL my cards (of different sizes) in one place. I file my picture cards for individual student schedules in 2, plastic 3 drawer sets that sit on top of a desk or shelf. (found at a Walmart or Family Dollar stores). I label each drawer and place 6 different sets of schedule pics in each drawer. Another great way to store pics that you need often and quickly is to place velcro on the inside of cabinet doors and then hang the picture cards there.
Thanks for sharing. Love the info.
REGINA