Figuring out how to store autism classroom visuals is a challenge. You want the visuals to be close by to access when needed. But they need to be organized so you can find them quickly. And, as we all know, our classrooms typically have lots of visuals. I mean lots and lots and lots of visuals!
Challenges in Organizing Autism Classroom Visuals
There is nothing more frustrating (well, except maybe stepping on those pesky building blogs that begin with L) than needing a visual support NOW to prevent a crisis…and not being able to find it. It is even worse if your visual storage takes a tumble and you have visuals all over the classroom floor.
I don’t know about you, but I struggle with deciding about how to organize autism classroom visuals as well.
- Should I sort them by putting all the same visuals together?
- Should I sort schedule visuals by color to use for specific students?
- Do I want to put them in alphabetical order in some way so I can find them?
- Do I sort them by function, or place, or who knows what else I could come up with?
Solutions to Storing Autism Classroom Visuals
The best solution is the one that works for YOUR classroom and the staff there. Everyone has different organizational strategies so you have to find one that works for you.
Everyone will have their own opinion, I’m sure. Sometimes you can keep them in a shoebox and it works. But when it doesn’t, here are 5 more ideas.
#1 Store Autism Classroom Visuals in a Pocket Chart.
Pocket charts are readily available in most of our classrooms and make for easy storage. However, having used this strategy in the past, make sure that you hold the pocket chart on the wall with something really sturdy. After about a week, the one in the picture fell down because we hadn’t used enough velcro to keep it on the wall. Believe me, you don’t want the pocket chart dumping all the visuals on the floor!
#2 Store Visuals Near Where You Use Them in Something Simple
This is an example from a preschool classroom. The set of visuals gave information to students as they were entering or leaving the classroom. It was also handy for staff to grab visuals they might need for specific situations, like encouraging greetings at the car line.
This visual set was designed to help students understand why they couldn’t go outside to play. There was a visual of the playground with an X through and a picture of rain. By keeping it on the door, it was easy to pull it out when needed, and it was where students needed to see it.. This teacher stored the visuals in a ziplock baggie that was taped to the door.
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#3 Jewelry Holders are the Perfect Size for Most Autism Classroom Visuals
This is a jewelry holder I got at Michael’s. You can find a similar one on Amazon here. This is probably my favorite way to store visuals. They are great for small visuals, and you can even find ones, like mine, that have different size pockets. I like the way I can see what visuals are in each pocket without taking them out.
I also like that they come with a hanger to hang on the wall or the back of a door. After my experience with the pocket chart falling off the all, I like sturdy ways to hang them up like the hanger and a nail. But I do particularly like them because you don’t have to sacrifice shelf space or table space. I found this one at Amazon and thought it was pretty. Target and Michaels also sells them regularly.
#4 Wall Hung Shoe Bags for Larger Classroom Visuals
This is a variation on #3 if you can’t find jewelry holders or have larger visuals. Shoe bags work well with all the same advantages. These are also great because you can store similar visuals in the same compartment and they are see-through so you can see the ones you need.
#5 Containers and Baskets to Sort the Visuals
And finally this one is an old standard. We used baby food or pudding containers organized within a basket. This works well if you want to organize them in smaller groups. It does take up counter or table space (which I’m loath to give up) but you can orange the visuals into small sets. This solution is great for storing classroom visuals near the schedules for each student’s extra visuals.
So, how do you store your autism classroom visuals? Do you have a go-to way I haven’t found? If you do, head over to the Special Educators’ Connection Facebook group and share!!