Hi, we’re Clare and Tom – the Orkid Ideas team
Just like a flower, our Orkid started life as one tiny seed – one small idea – that’s developed, grown and blossomed. An idea that’s driven our passion to help improve lives with visual supports that work for you, not that make work for you.
My son Tom is an intelligent, funny and charming young man who loves trains, Switzerland and football. Ever since he was diagnosed with autism, a language disorder and sensory difficulties at 4 years old, I’ve been determined to ensure he has every opportunity to be the best he can be, in every possible way.
Visual supports played a large part in helping Tom to cope with everyday life from a young age. I 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. They quickly learned to start organising their own things for school and my friend Deborah loved the independence it gave her children when they tried the idea too.
Encouraged by demand for the kit lists from other parents, Deborah and I decided the time was right to nuture 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 Deborah and I teamed up with Widgit symbols and began to offer kits for a much wider range of needs, unlocking TomTag’s potential to be a truly versatile visual support tool. TomTag gained recognition as a helpful and innovative resource for schools and child care setting with awards from TEACH Primary and Early Years magazine. We were proud to be chosen as Small Business Sunday ( SBS) winners by Theo Paphitis and thrilled to meet the man himself!
After many years dedicated to nurturing , growing and tending to TomTag , Deborah bid farewell and has gone on to enjoy a few different interests and adventures. With Tom all grown up ( after many years of nurturing and growing!) the time was right for him to join the Orkid team.
Tom and I are truly grateful to Deborah for making TomTag the success it is today. Together, Tom and I will continue to help and support any child, young person or adult who could benefit from using visual supports, just as Tom himself has done.
Clare & Tom x