“Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is not incompatible but complementary to the rehabilitation of natural speech,and can also help its success when possible. It should therefore not hesitate to introduce it at an early age, as soon as difficulties in the development of oral language are observed, or shortly after any accident or disease has caused its deterioration. There is no evidence that the use of AAC inhibits or interferes with the development or recovery of speaking.” Carmen Basil in https://arasaac.org/aac/en
CLARIFYING THE CONCEPT OF AUGMENTATIVE AND/OR ALTERNATIVE COMMUNICATION
Before starting to elaborate our communication notebook, it is important to understand that Augmentative and/or Alternative Communication is not the end,but the means that the person uses to express themselves,and therefore participate socially in the context that surrounds them.
Augmentative and/or Alternative Communication Systems (AACS) are not incompatible. but complementary to the rehabilitation of natural speech,and can also help the success of it when it is possible. There should therefore be no doubt about introduce it at an early age,as soon as difficulties in the development of oral language are observed, or shortly after any accident or disease has caused its deterioration. There is no evidence that the use of AAC inhibits or interferes with the development or recovery of speech.
Links of interest before you begin:
WHAT IS AN AUGMENTATIVE AND ALTERNATIVE COMMUNICATION NOTEBOOK?
One communication notebook is a basic support product for communication consisting of a collection of graphic symbols (photographs, pictograms, letters, words and / or phrases), throughout the different pages, which the person will use to communicate looking for the necessary elements in the different sheets to compose a sentence. Initially, this phrase can be a single symbol and, with the right work and depending on the cognitive ability, more elaborate sentences can be composed.
Decision-making to choose the most appropriate AACS must be carried out by an interdisciplinary team,involving most of the professionals who know and work with the user, and the family,to favor its implementation inside and outside the educational environment.
HOW TO INTRODUCE THE BASIC VOCABULARY IN OUR NOTEBOOK?
Respecto a la selección y la adaptación del vocabulario se proponen los siguientes criterios:
- Evolutionary approach:age-appropriate vocabulary.
- Ecological approach:vocabulary needed according to the context.
- Personalization based on the interests and reality of the user. Some of the categories that require greater customization, adding vocabulary from the beginning, are: people (relatives, colleagues, professionals …), places (places where you usually go and are not included in the default vocabulary), games and sports (toys or games that are of interest to the user). Vocabulary customization can be a key element to the success of any augmentative communication system.
- Functional communication:expression of demands, but also other communicative functions such as asking, explaining, refuting, joking, nuancing, etc.
- Linguistic development:lexical diversity, extension of statements, etc.
- Selection of more symbolic pictograms: choose pictograms with “stick” people (schematic) rather than more concrete and detailed pictograms.
- Selection of colorless pictograms: unless the color is something characteristic of the object (e.g. a lemon), it may be interesting to choose colorless pictograms.
Of course, the work of implementation and adaptation of the basic vocabulary must be carried out in a coordinated manner between all the people who intervene with the user and adapt to the needs and characteristics of the user so that the notebook becomes a communication tool during the twenty-four hours of the day.
WHAT MATERIALS DO WE NEED TO BUILD THE NOTEBOOK?
- Use a ring folder with different colored separatorsto organize categories.
- Download the pictograms directly or customized from Pictograms – ARASAAC.
- Type nuclear vocabulary in the search box from Pictograms – ARASAAC or click on this link: Nuclear vocabulary pictograms – ARASAAC
- You can also download these printable and clipping templates containing UTAC-CACEvocabulary:
- CACE_15_categorías_agrupadas_Castellano_4x5: Spanish version of the CACE vocabulary with 15 categories (grouping the 20 of the original version). Vertical pages in a grid of 4×5, with ARASAAC pictograms.
- CACE 15 categories agrupades Català 4×5: Versió en català del CACE amb 15 categories (agrupant les 20 de la versió original). Vertical pàgines in a graella of 4×5 amb pictograms ARASAAC.
- CACE 15 categories grouped Castilian 5×7: Spanish version of the CACE vocabulary in Word format. Vertical pages in a 5×7 grid with ARASAAC pictograms.
- CACE 15 categories agrupades Català 5×7: Versió en català del CACE amb 15 categories (agrupant les 20 de la versió original). Vertical pàgines in a graella of 5×7 amb pictograms ARASAAC.
- CACE categories agrupades Català 7×10: Versió en català del CACE per Word. Vertical pàgines in a graella of 7×10 amb pictograms ARASAAC.
- Use the plasticizer to extend the life of the material.
- Glue Velcro tape on the separator cards and on the plasticized pictograms.
WE STARTED DESIGNING AND CREATING THE COMMUNICATION NOTEBOOK
Step 1- Use a ring folder with colored separators or cardboard as a support for our communication notebook.
Step 2- Place Velcro in the folder separators and on the front of the pictograms.
Step 3 – Create the space for the historical phrase and essential pictograms.
One of the main elements of our communication notebook is the space of the historical phrase,in which the user accumulates the pictograms that make up the message he wants to convey. Depending on cognitive ability and familiarity with the communication system, this message can vary in length from a single pictogram to several.
To create the space for the historical phrase, we cut out a cardboard and plasticized it. On the front and back, we place Velcro to adhere the pictograms and to adhere the cardboard to the folder.
In the image above, we can also visualize that we have created two spaces, at the top and at the bottom, to introduce essential vocabulary (core vocabulary),which are pictograms that are frequently used and that must be available at all times to facilitate communication.
Step 4- Organize the basic vocabulary in the separators.
To facilitate the communication process, we recommend that the vocabulary you enter on each card or separator contains the necessary pictograms, adapted to the needs of the user, to be able to compose the sentence, nouns, actions, descriptive, etc.
Taking into account the communication capacity of our user, we can add a large amount of vocabulary on the pages, so it would be convenient for us to add the pictogram of the category in the tab of the separator to locate the category more quickly.
Step 5 – Start using it in all areas of everyday life.