Orkid Ideas came about through Clare need to find visual supports to help her son Tom cope with everyday life.
Tom was diagnosed with autism, a language disorder, and sensory difficulties at 4 years old. Visual supports played a large part in helping Tom to cope with everyday life from a young age. Clare spent many late nights researching, printing, cutting and laminating picture cards to help develop his understanding and communication, giving him a voice and having a positive effect on his behaviour.
One of those late nights planted that first seed; colour-coded school kit lists that I clipped to each of my children’s school bags. This idea helped to organise other things for school, as with many small ideas there started to be a demand from other parents.
Clare's and her friend Deborah loved the independence it gave the children and decided the time was right to nurture that seed and develop the product we called ‘TomTag – the cool tool that helps kids pack their bag for school’. Without Tom, the seed would never have been sown so it seemed only right to name the product after him.
TomTag really began to flourish when they teamed up Widgit symbols and began to offer kits for a much wider range of needs. TomTag gained recognition as a helpful and innovative resource for schools and childcare setting with awards from TEACH Primary and Early Years magazine.
After many years dedicated to nurturing, growing, and tending to TomTag, Deborah bid farewell and with Tom all grown up the time was right for him to join the Orkid team.
Tom and Clare continue to help and support any child, young person or adult who could benefit from using visual supports, just as Tom himself has done.