If you are just getting started with augmentative communication, you'll find this checklist worthwhile:
For Expressive Communication
Identify what symbols and requests you want the student to use. Remember to position the symbols to enable the child with preference of hand.
- Make a request for an object
- Continue with something
- Stop something
- Ask for help
- Indicate a feeling (not feeling well, sad, tired etc.)
- Indicate a preference or choice
- Ask for assistance
- Say hello or good-bye
What specific picture symbols are needed for the following:
- Make a greeting
- Begin something
- Make a specific request
- Start or stop something
- Hunger request and food choices.
When starting out with picture symbol use, the very basics like yes, no and I want, will be a first priority. Picture symbol users are very visual individuals, teaching the symbol and helping them make requests through pointing is the goal. As the individual gets used to pointing to specific symbols, they'll be ready to move on to actual sentences such as 'I want or I need and then the actual image of what they need. There are many ways to organize the individual's picture symbol book, however, it's important that it is organized to be able to meet the users need. The picture symbol book will always need to be easily accessible to the user. If the user is unable to reach the book or turn the pages, a gesture should be established so that the individual may request the book and page turning.
To be successful in teaching the use of picture symbols there are 3 rules to follow:
1. Start slow with high use symbols (Drink, food, help etc.)
2. Be consistent and maintain reasonable expectations
3. Be patient, don't give up, stick with it!