About

The aim of the Global Symbols website is to link freely available symbol sets with other linguistically and culturally localised symbol sets to provide world wide access to appropriate picture based communication.  The intent is also to build on the work of the Tawasol Symbol research by providing ways for Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) users and specialists in the field to create their own symbol sets based on their personal needs and to share them with communities around the world.

The Global Symbols team have come about as a result of the  work on The Arabic Symbol Dictionary which became Tawasol Symbols funded by a NPRP award [NPRP 6 – 1046 – 2 – 427] from the Qatar National Research Fund (a member of The Qatar Foundation) and thanks must also go to all those participants in Doha, Mada – Qatar Assistive Technology Center. and Hamad Medical Corporation .  Particular thanks also need to go to ARASAAC for allowing their symbols to be the starting point for many of the symbols that needed to be localised to suit the cultural and social settings in Qatar.

Tawasol and ARASAAC Symbols along with the other symbols collected on this site are intended for:

  • Languages do not have localised symbols to support speech, language and literacy in health care, education and social communication situations.
  • Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) users
  • Those who may have low levels of literacy, learning disabilities or specific learning difficulties, where symbols can aid reading and writing skills.
  • Those individuals who have social interaction difficulties where symbols can act as prompts.

Symbols may also work in a similar way for those who acquire speech and language difficulties due to strokes and brain injury.

Where it has been felt that there is no need to generate new symbols for certain concepts, links have been provided to the ARASAAC symbol set available thanks to collaboration with Centro Aragonés de Recursos para la Educación Inclusiva (CAREI) and are offered under a CC (BY-NC-SA) Creative Commons licence.

The Tawasol Symbols are free to use or distribute and can be incorporated and integrated into both free and commercial products. You may charge for your software, training or support but cannot make an additional charge for the use of the Tawasol library, either within your pricing or as an additional download. We simply ask that you note the source of the symbols and the license under which they are provided. Tawasol symbols are available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 licence

You can follow the progress of the research and symbol development via our blog.

The Team

David Banes

David Banes

David is director of David Banes Access and Inclusion Services and has worked with many well known international organisations having been part of the original Tawasol Symbols team as Chief Executive at Mada – Qatar Assistive Technology Center.

He is keen to see how freely available augmentative and alternative communication symbol sets can be developed to fit the local linguistic and cultural needs of those with speech, language and literacy difficulties as well as allowing for enhanced international social network communication.

Aejaz Zahid

Aejaz Zahid

Aejaz Zahid is an expert in Assistive Technology, Rehabilitation Engineering and Human Computer Interaction who has had research and development projects in Europe and USA having just returned from MIT. He was one of the original team members on the Tawasol Symbols project at at Mada – Qatar Assistive Technology Center. More recently he has been appointed a research and innovation fellow at the University of Sheffield working with the Centre for Assistive Technology and Connected Healthcare: CATCH and Barnsley AT Team – Assistive Technology Team

 

E.A. Draffan

E.A. Draffan

E.A. began her career as a Speech and Language Therapist working in a group of London Hospitals. The work involved supporting disabled people with a wide range of communication difficulties. She then worked in schools and colleges, specialising in the support of those with Special Needs whilst encouraging the use of assistive technologies (AT).  She is now a member of the Web and Internet Science Research Group in ECS at the University of Southampton working with MSc and PhD students, supporting the development of accessibility applications and being involved with web accessibility initiatives and MOOC development.  E.A. was also one of the original team members working on the Tawasol Symbols with members of the Speech Therapy Department in Hamad Medical Center and Mada – Qatar Assistive Technology Center.

Dana Lawand

Dana Lawand

Dana graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Graphic design from the Lebanese American University of Beirut. Dana’s designs have been mainly before advertising agencies where she has delivered the concept for a brand through various types of media that reflect the concept and vision. Given the opportunity to work with Mada making the link between graphic design and the work of the research project has many similarities when it comes to delivering its vision. Initially Dana worked on the project logo named ‘Tawasol’ which in Arabic means ‘Communication’ followed by the design of additional dissemination materials and the symbols that need to be added to the Arabic Symbol Dictionary. Participants on the project voted on Dana’s symbols and the results were very positive.  Since leaving Mada, Dana has continued her links with the original Tawasol Symbols team.