I Know What To Expect Going Away


Tom struggles with changes to his routine.

School trips, days out, family holidays, and an overnight stay with grandparents make him feel anxious because he dislikes uncertainty and being in an unfamiliar environment.

Using pictures showing him what to expect, how he would travel there, and where he would be staying help reduce his anxiety as he could see what is happening during his day.

We created this kit to help your child prepare for any trip away from home whether it’s a family holiday, school trip, staying with a parent or respite care.

Create personalised visual schedules and checklists to make a trip away from home go more smoothly by helping to reduce your child’s anxiety about what is going to happen when and whilst they are away so like Tom they can say, ‘I know what to expect going away’ too!

Key benefits

  • Creating a structure and routine to days away from home results in a calmer and less stressful holiday or trip
  • Showing your child what to expect each day whilst away from home helps reduce their anxiety and meltdowns
  • Communicating what your child needs to do whilst they are away from home helps your child understand changes to their normal routines
  • Symbols for transport and places to stay means you can reassure your child where they will be staying and how they are going to get there and back
  • Planning ahead gives your child time to ask any questions or share any worries they may have about spending time away from home and normal routines
  • Encouraging independence by giving your child responsibility for packing their suitcase or bag themselves

Kit contents

  • 6 TomTag Button Holders
  • 40 blank buttons to give you the flexibility to create multiple schedules and checklists
  • 1 attachment loop to fasten TomTag to a hook, belt or bag
  • Easy to follow instruction sheet to assemble your TomTag
  • Staying Away from Home sticker pack which contains

72 different symbol stickers (2 copies of each) for

    • Activities: hiking, picnic, swimming, beach, orienteering, cycling, pedalo, trampolining, fishing, crazy golf, map, sports, outdoor activities
    • Places to stay: hotel, respite house, hostel, friend’s house, grandparent’s house, mum’s house, dad’s house, caravan, holiday house, cabin, cruise, activity centre, camping, guide camp, scout camp
    • Packing: sleeping bag, pillow, suitcase, pack, unpack, clothes, outdoor clothes, underwear, swimming things, travel bag, night wear, sun cream, towel, wash bag, camera, ear defenders, glasses, sunglasses, book, backpack, torch, sun cap, teddy, medicine, travel games
    • Travelling: coach, car, areoplane, train, ferry, traffic jam, minibus, collect luggage, wait, crowds, packed lunch, queue, iPad/tablet, sweets, mobile phone, snack, passport, travel pass, currency
  • 12 blank round stickers for personalisation
  • 8 blank rectangular stickers to label your TomTag Button Holders

Click the gallery to view the symbol images


  • TomTag Button Holder:18cm x 3cm
  • Buttons: 2cm diameter

 The TomTag I Know What To Expect Range 

The TomTag I Know What To Expect range was originally designed by a mum to help her autistic son, Tom. With this range, it’s quick and easy to make personalised visual timelines, schedules and reminders which can be used anywhere in the home, at school, in care settings or when out and about.

TomTag visual supports can provide structure and guidance to the day or week ahead, helping to lessen anxieties and mange expectations about what is going to happen. This can lead to improvements in behaviour, communication and encourage personal responsibility and independence. 

These are truly versatile visual supports.  Use the tags singly to highlight sections of the day or particular events.Work towards using just one tag to cover a whole routine or time of day. 

TomTag is easy to clean and keep hygienic. TomTag’s plastic button holders and blank buttons can be washed in warm water and a little hand soap should they become dirty and dried with a soft cloth. The stickers are highly water resistant. Simply wipe over with a wet cloth or anti-bacterial wipe.

How does TomTag work?

TomTag uses symbols to show a series of separate tasks or steps involved in a task that are part of a routine, a sequence of events in a timeline or they can be used as a list to teach a new skill by breaking down a single activity into smaller steps.

Many children with autism and other additional needs have strong visual skills. They are more likely to remember and understand what they have seen rather than what they hear. Using a visual support like TomTag to present information visually and in a step-by-step manner allows visual thinkers and learners to take in information at their own pace. Visuals can also act as a reminder when children forget what’s been said or become distracted, TomTag helps to bring their attention back to the task or current situation.


WARNING: Please note – TomTag is not a toy. Not suitable for children under 36 months due to small parts.

Symbol images produced under licence from Widgit Symbols (C) Widgit Software 2002-2022 www.widgit.com. All other images (C) Orkid Ideas Limited 2022

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