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This year I am so excited, because I will get to start working with a new program to my building!  It is a semi-contained Autism program!! This means a lot of changes and more AAC for me, but I am welcoming this new adventure.  Aside from new kids, it will mean some new tools, mainly AAC devices and visuals.  Now we have seen professionals sporting those oh so trendy lanyards with oodles of Boardmaker images on them, but do you know why they are so important? Here’s some info on the visual necklace.

visual necklace

These ‘Visual Necklaces’ as many call them, can be found in just about every school and clinic.  No, they are not the latest in SLP/SpEd accessorizing and fashion, they actually service a purpose.  When a situation becomes too much for kids to handle, especially students who struggle to communicate in general, increasing the amount you are talking to them even with the best of intention to help, can end up just adding to their distress. This is where visuals come in.  By simply showing them a visual you can communicate your message and not escalate the situation and further.

They can be used to signal transitions from stations and classes or quietly praise students for a job well done.  The key thing to keep in mind is that VISUALS ARE STILL LANGUAGE!  Some people think that visuals will not convey enough information but they can be surprisingly powerful.


One thing I have noticed with these visual necklaces is the they seem to always have quiet a few visuals and they always seem to be jumbled up. I see others shuffling through picture after picture until they finally find the one they want.  There are some ways to combat this disorganization. One way is to put the most frequently used images in front, but then it leaves the issue of all the rest of them.

Well, after seeing this happen time and time again, I decided to try something. I made a ‘starter’ visual necklace with tabs for each image. Also the images are color coded following the Fitzgerald Key since I will have some students using it.  This means I can find images quickly.  I can look for them by color or find the correct tab.


Another way I am thinking to use the image may be, once I learn what images I use most, is to keep the tabs on the most frequently used images and remove them from the rest. I can keep the untabbed images  grouped by color for easy locating. I will have to try it out and see what works best for me and my students.

If you are looking for some new, easy to find visuals to make your days then search no more! You can see al 78 visuals listed that are included in the necklace HERE.

If you need additional visuals to support your kids in therapy then you definitely want to take a peek as these VISUALS IN SPEECH.



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Meet Maureen

Hey there! I’m Maureen Wilson, a school-base SLP who is data driven and caffeine powered. My passion is supporting other pediatric SLPs by teaching them how to harness the power of literacy and data to help their students achieve their goals…without sacrificing time they don’t have.

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