Find Images to Use When Communicating with Autistic People

Most autistic people are visual learners; here are sites to find those visuals!

If you work with a person on the autism spectrum, you probably know that pictures are worth a thousand word. But where do you find free or low-cost pictures that illustrate potty training, grocery shopping, or tooth brushing? From clip art to high-quality photographs, there are plenty of resources available!


toothbrush. toothbrush

Print out these graphic images in the areas of hygiene, housekeeping, scheduling and emotions/self-management. These are not photographic, and seem to be intended for an older user (young children are unlikely to be handling household chores, for example).



Scroll down this page to find the link to dozens of "PECS Pages." These are photos and graphic images of an incredible range of items -- all printable, and all free. They're relatively small (only about an inch and a half square) but they're full color. Also on the page are links to additional image sites and pages full of sign language images.



This Australian website is low on description, but offers hundreds of full-color flashcards free! Click and print images of animals, activities, sports equipment and more.



This is not a freebie site, but it does offer an extraordinary value: CD's of thousands of high-quality photographs for $40-$80. You could spend hours sifting through free sites, or own and print these materials which include not only items but also processes. If you expect to use specific, hard-to-find photographic images on a regular basis, these CD's are well worth the investment.



Ellie Cards offers a complete PECS set, including velcro book, photo cards and "choice board" for $239. Obviously, this is not the lowest-cost option on the market. But for teachers or parents who intend to use the PECS (Picture Exchange Card) system as outlined by Pyramid Products, Ellie Cards may be a great option -- especially since they offer a customized selection of cards at a reasonable cost.



You'll find decks of picture cards for every occasion at this site. They're not especially inexpensive ($10.95 for 31 cards), but they are large (3X4 inches), laminated, and full color.



Much like Ellie Cards, this company offers complete PECS sets at a fairly high cost ($37 for 151 cards with velcro backing plus another $31 for the velcro notebook). You can also buy a CD with over a thousand images for $40.00.


Pictures Are Worth More Than 1,000 Words

When you're working with a person on the autism spectrum, visual communication is key. Whether you download freebies or purchase sets of cards, you'll find a thousand ways to use images to express ideas, wants, and needs.