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The other day I was shopping with AJ for school supplies and came across the plastic document case pictured below. With communication top of BJ’s goals for this year, I immediately thought how it could be used as part of a low-tech communication system. I thought it would make a great communication aid on-the-go and hopefully make it easy for communication partners to keep symbols and boards all together.


Over the years, we’ve struggled to find a system that people outside the family will use with BJ. It seems communication partners are easily overwhelmed and because BJ is non-verbal we have found he’s had to prove himself to them repeatedly, often resulting in great frustration and rejection of a system. So, we’ve gone back to the basics in the hope that we can build upon this with the one to one support he’ll have in place this year thanks to the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme).  I need to know that he has choice when he goes out to a café or for lunch. I don’t like the idea of people choosing based on their preferences.


In the past when a speech pathologist has made up symbols for BJ they eventually disappeared one by one so hopefully a container will assist with keeping them together and make them portable day-to-day. The black front of the case also allows for it to be used as a high contrast board. By attaching a couple of rows of velcro the cover can become the display board.


Inside there is plenty of room to store a variety of picture exchange symbols.


Being A4 it is the perfect size to fit in a backpack or even in the basket under a wheelchair. The only downside is that it’s a bit flimsy, I’m not sure how well it will last the BJ school of hard knocks but we’ll see.


I found this in Big W in the stationery section. I’d suggest buying more than one if you think it will be successful because many items they bring in at back to school time don’t appear again for the rest of the year.

You may also like to read how we use photos to give us an insight into BJ’s world when he’s not with us here.

The iPad has opened up a world of communication for BJ and you can read more about how he uses it and the set up we’ve found good for him here. 

If you’ve found something that works for you or your child, please share it with us. One person’s find can be the ideal solution for another family too.



  1. That should be a valuable bit of gear. The trouble is the plastic can’t be glued (yes I’ve tried) the only way to repair breaks is by heat welding and I won’t suggest you do that. Just a random thought = if you go over the corners of the case with pressure sensitive vinyl like that book covering stuff that MIGHT re-inforce enough to extend the life of the case.

  2. Hello, these take me back to the early days with my son. Pictures are quick and easy, and hopefully you will be able to make sure that everone in BJ’s life uses the same system… great for situations when you don’t have an iPad.

    So much for people to learn, it’s a big shift for verbal people to learn to communicate non-verbally but it can be done.


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