5c. AAC Communication Boards

Updated by Global Symbols with UNICEF ECARO

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A communication board can be made up of a set of symbols or viusal aids that a child and communicaiton partner uses to comment, message, make requests and help understanding. The boards are used to support any non-verbal or verbal communication as well as build language skills.

  • Boards can be used by children who have the ability to understand cause and effect, but may not be able to speak or understand language or the elements of communication.
  • An important part of using communicative boards is language modelling. Namely, the communication partner (a parent, professional or another child) uses the board to model language (pointing to the symbols) while simultaneously speaking.
  • Modelling language is very important because it provides a child with examples; of how to make choices or develop more complex language. YouTube video about modelling.
  • Remember that this is a new way for children to communicate; therefore, they will need lots of time and support to learn how to use any boards effectively.
  • Communication boards can be linked together with different categories making up a communication book that allows a child to expand their language with each board covering different topics such as actions, greetings, clothes etc.
  • Paper based communication boards are usually laminated and should be matt rather than glossy to prevent reflections.
  • The grid examples can be made using any application such as Google docs or Microsoft Word, but there also many apps linked to symbol sets and devices.
  • The size of the symbols and labels depends on the number of cells needed and the user's visual acuity and abilities.
  • They may be designed with high contrast colours or black and white with wider spacing or thicker outlines, rather than the colours in the examples.
  • The communication partner needs to understand how the symbols are used or have a clear text label because there may be no text to speech to help with communication.

See Also