Saturday, March 26, 2011

A DIY label project that I can help you with

Lately I've been aggravated.  I've had a few projects going on, and went to an iPad workshop on Thursday, and all week long I keep thinking "Someone must have done this before.  I can't be the only person trying to  put labels around an apartment/use an iPad for communication/do other random teachery things for a nearly-3-yr-old with delays." 

It's so frustrating to think that other people have done some trial-and-error stuff and perfected some great ideas, and I don't know what they are.  Instead, here I am, trying to come up with everything on my own . . .  and I never get anything right the first time, so I have to keep redoing the same stuff. 

Here's an example:

I went on a preschool visit and saw that they had labeled everything with words.  Great idea!, I thought  I can totally do that.   (While I don't expect her to start reading any time soon, it can't hurt to create a text rich environment.)   And so I made labels:
written on sentence strips, laminated, and then hung up with painter's tape

Then I later realized that if we're teaching Maya with PECS (picture cards, or pictures on the iPad), the labels should really include a picture icon in addition to the words.  Oops.  So I have to redo them.

Then I find out that kids learn capital letters first.  So they have to be fixed again.  Now they have to be all caps and include a picture.  Also, everyone who texts/emails/blogs/etc knows that CAPITALS are for YELLING.  So I was less than enthused that my "chair"s  and "door"s were about to become "CHAIR"s and "DOOR"s.  I envisioned walking into my kitchen in the morning and being visually assaulted from the moment I flipped the LIGHT SWITCH and walked past the CABINET, DRAWER, and GARBAGE to the REFRIGERATOR. 

Not cute.

(As it turns out, with a decent font and good clip art, the text is less AGGRESSIVE than I thought it might be.  Thank goodness.)

Here's the step-by-step process (so you can do it yourself without having to reinvent the wheel) of the new-label-making. 

Step 1: This is what I came up with, through googling clip art images and formatting in a word document:***

 Also, I can't spell REFRIGERATOR, in case you didn't notice.  I fixed it and reprinted, but I'm too lazy to take new pictures, and I also don't care if you think that I can't spell.

Step 2: I cut out all of the labels, because they laminate better individually:

Step 3: Set them up in sheets to be laminated:


 Post-lamination, again

Step 4: Cut out the laminated squares.  *Remember to round the corners, because kids will rip these things down ad nauseum  and you don't want scary, sharp edges.

Step 5: Hang them up (painter's tape works well) around eye level.  I taped these up near the bottom and then remembered she's not a crawler anymore, and I had to move them up!

 These say closet, bathroom, closet.  I mean, CLOSET, BATHROOM, CLOSET

One labeled drawer and cabinet.  Her speech therapist said there's no need to label every single thing---which would be overwhelming---so just pick a few to label. 


I've already done the work to find decent images and format this stuff.  There is no need for you to start from scratch---shoot me an email ( and I would be happy to send you the word document.  You may need to tweak them (you probably don't need "PARKER'S CRATE") but at least you won't have to reinvent the wheel.  It makes me crazy that we all are constantly trying to come up with new things, and we probably could just get some great easy ideas from each other.


Meghan said...

Here is a blog about a boy using an IPad as a communication device. Maybe this will be helpful to you.

Dana said...

Thanks Meghan :) I've seen that before, I think. I wish I could find other iPad users with kids closer to Maya's age---that's where I'm getting stuck.

Cortney said...

If you're interested, I'd be more than happy to copy my 2011 Pictures for PEC's CD and send you a copy so you don't have to search for appropriate clip art. My e-mail is

Jo-Anne said...

Those labels look fantastic! I just love them. =)

Shelly said...

Dana those look great! I saw this on BBC and had to check it out.

Tanya said...

you are AMAZING. Yes, YOU. AMAZING. ;-)

B. said...

hey Dana...i use an iPad with Kaitlyn (she's 1 yr 9 months now!) they're KIND OF close in age...i have a couple of apps I use for her that i OF COURSE can't remember the name of them right now....but lots of alphabet, numbers, shapes, identifying everyday things....she seems to be really enjoying them...if those are the type of apps/programs you are looking for, let meknow and i'll get the names for you....i believe they were all free too :-)

B. said...

i forgot how sketchy my blogspot id's rebecca :-)

adlopez68 said...

Thanks for sending me the labels! That's my project for the day! My son is 26 months and I think it's time to start expanding his vocab. My husband is fluent in spanish so I think he can help me add the spanish word for each item! Thanks again!

Em said...

Thanks for the labels you sent to me awhile I go, I actually forgot about them and then went to look to print them out and your email was gone. Sorry to bug you to resend, but if you get a moment can you send them, I would so appreciate it., Emma Roeske.
I so appreciate you sharing the ACC progression with Maya we are just now exploring apps and com devices, go talk, boardmaker, logan talker etc. Sorry to hear SFY is gone, how crazy I had just downloaded the light version to try but realize we need to get the guards and work on the one finger isolation some more for this to work, best to you and your family continue to love your blog!

MommytoMacKenzie said...

I would love a set of these to print out. Could you email them to me? Assuming you still have the file??? Thanks!