About us

About us

Welcome to Smarty Symbols, where we embark on an extraordinary journey of empowering education through the power of visual supports. Our mission is to create inclusive learning environments, break communication barriers, and inspire the minds of tomorrow.

The Root of Our Mission

Our story is rooted in the recognition of the profound impact of visual supports in education and communication. It all started with one woman’s mission to make educational images more inclusive. Barbara Fernandes, a passionate Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP), noticed a critical gap in the world of visual supports. Existing symbol sets lacked diversity and representation, failing to capture the rich tapestry of humanity. Determined to challenge the status quo, Barbara founded Smarty Symbols in 2014.

A Library of Diversity and Inclusivity

Driven by her dedication and unwavering commitment, Barbara and her talented team of illustrators set out on a mission to create a symbol library that celebrates individuality and inclusion. Smarty Symbols offers over 60,000 symbols, each thoughtfully crafted to represent diversity and inclusivity. Our innovative “Character of Choice” feature allows users to personalize visual supports with characters representing various skin tones and diverse backgrounds.

Empowering Education Through Innovation

Over the years, Smarty Symbols evolved from a digital library into a robust web-based platform—the Smarty Symbols Studio. Equipped with a powerful activity designer, it empowers educators, speech therapists, families, and special education professionals to create personalized visual materials with ease. Our library of over 30,000 symbols and more than 10,000 ready-made activities streamlines resource creation and enhances inclusive learning experiences.

Making Spaces More Inclusive

Our passion for inclusion extends beyond technology. Smarty Symbols spearheaded a national movement in 2022 to make public spaces more inclusive by designing purposeful communication boards. Collaborating with organizations, we create tailored communication boards for public areas like playgrounds, waterparks, museums, and clinics. The goal is to foster communication, social engagement, and active participation for individuals of all ages and abilities.

A Remarkable Impact