Last Updated 11/8/18
A couple of decades ago there was really only one option to source color drawings/images for special needs applications; materials such as communication boards, visual schedules, etc. In recent years, new options have been popping up. Here is a list of some sources for symbols/images for making materials and visual supports:
Boardmaker software - the classic computer software program is still available for purchase (Mayer-Johnson) and has since grown to a family of products.
Boardmaker Online - the Boardmaker family of products recently joined other companies offering online subscription access to a library of images and symbols for creating materials. Personal, professional, and group pricing available. Boardmaker Online also offers a free online Community where you can search for and/or share created materials with over 200,000 members.
Chat Editor (from Saltillo/TouchChat) - free to download program for Windows that provides access to symbols/pages that you can capture for use in making materials.
Communicate In Print 2 software - desktop (Windows only) program supplied with the full Widgit Symbol set (color and black & white)
ConnectAbility.ca - free online visual engine to build visual supports and sequences. Choose a grid template, choose images, print, and use.
Emoji Island - download emoji icons in PNG for free
Global Symbols - a dictionary of a series of free symbol sets that have been developed in various countries to support those with communication difficulties
iESLp - app for iPad offering access to a library of over 24,000 SymbolStix symbols with in-app purchases available for additional images (Scrapin Doodle) to create materials (for use on the iPad or print and use).
LessonPix - created by a teacher and developer, LessonPix is an online resource to create customized materials. You can also download the "clip art" for use in applications such as Word documents, PowerPoint, etc. Individual and group pricing available.
Mrs. Riley - make pages of picture cards online. As of April 2018, only existing users can access this site; new user sign-up is closed.
Open Symbols - a collection of open-license picture symbols for use in AAC which pulls from multiple sources. Currently includes access to more than 59,000 symbols/icons.
Openclipart - each artist has released all rights to the images they share on this website and all clipart from Openclipart is free to use (even for unlimited commercial use)
PASS (from PRC) - create support materials, such as cheat sheets, manual boards, and vocabulary lists using the symbols from PRC AAC devices
Pics for PECS® software(from Pyramid Educational Consultants) - CD (Mac/Win) of over 3,200 high resolution jpg images
Picto4Me - a free web application for the Chrome browser that lets you create and play communication boards online. Boards can be displayed on tablets, chromebooks and any Google Chrome Browser compatible device. Pick images from optimized libraries or from the web, stored as well straight from your webcam. Picto4Me supports TTS (Text to speech) and webcam and microphone. Project files are stored in your Google Drive account.
Picto-Selector - free Windows application to create visuals
QuickPics - from Patrick Ecker is a program you download to access the available images. Free to use and share.
SEN Teacher - free learning resources, including visual aids and AAC resources you can create and print. NWACS board member Rose-Marie shares: "Just type your word into the card frames and the online software searches its database (either ARASAAC symbols or photo images) fills in the pictures. Most cards are 2" size. Really easy to use!"
Smarty Symbols Image Club - an SLP-run company offering an online image/symbol library with over 19,000 images. Personal, group, and commercial monthly or yearly licenses available. NWACS board member, Casey, recently wrote a review of Smarty Symbols on her blog here.
Special Education Technology British Columbia resourceSET - a free library of student and classroom resources
SymbolStix PRIME - web-based library of over 25,000 SymbolStix symbols from n2y available for a 12-month subscription. Create materials on their site or copy and paste symbols into other programs to create your materials.
Tawasol Symbols - free Arabic / English symbol dictionary of frequently used words in spoken and written communication (must register for access, but it is free)
Tools2Talk+ - app for iPad from Australian developer Scopevic offers access to over 20,000 PCS symbols and over 1,500 Compic symbols to create materials for use on iPad or to print and use. For more information, check out this review from OMazing Kids here.
Widgit Online - create, save, and share symbol resources. Pricing plans include Home, School, Organization options (each with different levels) in monthly, or 1, 3, or 5 year increments.
Are you looking for real photos you can use without violating copyrights or dealing with licensing concerns? Check out this article by Eric Curts on Control Alt Achieve: 18 Free Image Sites and Tools for Schools
What's missing from our list? Do you know of another resource to access images for creating materials and visual supports? Comment below to help us develop this resource list!