In our last post, we talked about the use of visuals to help with expressive communication. Now, we will take a look at some of the types of low-tech/no-tech visuals that can be used for this purpose. Low-tech/no-tech means that there is no speech output.
There are many types of visuals that can be used as tools to help with expressive language. One of the best places to start using visuals for expressive language is through the use of environmental labels. An environmental label is a picture, photo, or text based word that is placed in a physical location by the item it represents. For example, pictures of food that is inside a refrigerator can be put on the refrigerator. Pictures of items that a child likes to play with can be put right by the place their toys are stored. Having these visual supports available right near where they are located helps give the person using the visual a way to express what they want.
A choice board is another great way to provide visuals for expressive language. One of the most widely recognized types of choice boards is called a PECs choice board (Picture Exchange Communication System). It is a series of pictures that are on a 3 ring notebook used along with the PECs system. But a choice board does not need to be a PECs choice board, it can be any type of board with a selection of pictures that are available for a person to choose from to express something that they want.
Here, we see an example of a PECs style choice board
And an example of a non PECs style choice board
Another type of visual support that can be used for expressive language is a core vocabulary communication notebook. A core vocabulary communication board or book is a communication system that is compromised of a combination of frequently occurring vocabulary words that occur in a wide variety of communication environments.
Yet another type of visual support for expressive communication is a PODD book. PODD stands for:
Pragmatic – realistic social language.
Organization – words and symbols arranged in a systematic way.
Dynamic Display – changing pages
All of these communication systems can be excellent choices for a person that is having difficult using verbal language. It is important to keep in mind that there is no one single system that is the best fit for every person. Work with your child or loved one’s speech therapist to help find the type of low-tech/no-tech visual support that will work best for them. Keep in mind, that as your child or loved one’s expressive communication abilities increase, it may be necessary to add to their current communication system, or consider changing systems to meet their current need at that time.
In our next post, we will look at some high tech visual support options that provide speech output. Sign up on the right of this post to make sure you don’t miss out on learning more about using visual supports for expressive language.