Creating and sharing visual supports including communication boards, social narratives, and others is a core part of any professional’s toolkit when working with students and clients with a variety of disabilities. However, the current tools and offerings that allow you to create those supports are increasingly falling behind current trends and failing to innovate. We’re creating Symbly to change that.
Symbly is, first and foremost, a community. It’s a community built of both parents and professionals who are passionate about creating amazing visual supports to help their children, students, and clients succeed, grow, and learn. This community wants to utilize best practices and the wealth of knowledge that now exists to create supports that are effective. This community also wants to share those resources with others — collaborating and supporting each other to create a vast library of resources for schools, homes, and communities across the globe.
A community that great requires a toolkit that helps them create supports quickly, while at the same time providing advanced, powerful features when needed. Symbly’s editor will feature a built-in library of device templates, like other visual support software, but it goes beyond that. It will also feature templates and examples designed by our professional staff. These are templates that can be utilized right away, but can also be customized to fit the needs of an individual. Finally, the editor features a workflow that will be as intuitive to a parent or professional just learning the ropes as it will to a power user with years of experience.
But we’re not stopping there. We’re also innovating in new and exciting ways. For example, we’re going to offer for the first time the ability for professionals to easily share their supports with parents to print at home, even if the parents aren’t subscribers. And if the parents are also Symbly users, they’ll have even more collaboration power. Imagine sharing a support with a parent that they can quickly fill in with photos of family members, or specific rewards before a trip to the store.
And we all know that iPads have become great tools for the special education community. Symbly Go will be an app for the iPad that automatically downloads and updates your supports as you create them on the Symbly website, wherever you are. You can then take those supports with you on the go, even if you don’t have an Internet connection. If you’re a professional working with a student, you can even set up Symbly Go on the student’s iPad, and then edit suppors anytime, anywhere from your own computer, knowing that they’ll be kept up to date on the student’s device.
Finally, our blog will feature relevant, frequent updates by our professional staff, including information on best practices and examples created using Symbly that users can then copy and edit themselves. We aren’t just putting out a product, we’re going to use it to create new resources for the community.
We’re currently in a closed beta while we finish building this great new tool, but we’re excited to invite you to try it out when it’s released, so be sure to sign up for our newsletter (in the footer at the bottom of the page) to stay up to date on Symbly’s development. You can also follow us on Twitter @symblyapp.
In the mean time, we’d love to talk with you about your wants and needs. What are some ways that we can help improve the visual support resource toolkit? Who do you want to share your supports with? Feel free to drop us a line anytime and let us know your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a comment below.
Update: Here’s a new overview video that shows off what Symbly can do:
The Symbly Team