Central, foundational, powerful, the things we all have in common, seeds of growth
Beukelman & Mirenda 3rd Ed., Gail Van Tatenhove “Pixon Project Kit,” Nancy Inman”s “Word Power” boards and software
Start with a lot of empty buttons. When you enlarge the vocabulary, the original words stay in the same location.
About 178 words, 204 items including the keyboard. A clear example of how literacy expands communication efficiency. If you need to make the buttons larger, you can put a keyboard button on the front and a keyboard on the back.
Core Vocabulary for AAC Bootcamp ESMA 2014
AAC Boot Camp Aug. 2014
Susan G. Malloy, M.S., CCC-SLP
Use your communication
Find a partner
Select a book or do any other activity you can
One person will be the “non-speaking student”
(using the communication board she made) and
the other will be a “speaking adult.” Use the
communication board to interact as you do the
After 5 minutes you’ll switch places.
“Words and messages that are:
1. Commonly used
2. By a variety of individuals and
3. Occur very frequently.”
Which means you can talk to practically anyone about
practically anything using core words…
if you have enough of them!
Core vocabularies need to grow with the individual.
Beukelman & Mirenda , Augmentative & Alternative Communication, 4th Ed. 2013
Sources of core words
Beukelman & Mirenda, 3rd Ed.
Benajee, M., Dicarlo, C., & Stricklin, B. (2003). Core
vocabulary determination for toddlers. Augmentative
and Alternative Communication, 19, 67–73.
Language sampling a/k/a Listening to what kids
Existing core boards
Nancy Inman’s Word Power on Board and related
software (see TouchChat, Tobii ATI, PRC, and others)
Prentke Romich Devices—PASS and NUVoice editing
Gail Van Tatenhove—The Pixon Project Kit and
Gail Van Tatenhove “Pixon” core board 112.
How many words to start
Sometimes less is more….
Most of the time,
MORE is MORE.
So start with
Why start with lots of words?
It’s what your parents did!
If you start with only “more” and “all done” you
can model three language functions:
requesting, acceptance, rejection.
If we only see and hear what we already know,
how do we learn?
Many AAC users have severely impaired
They need visual or multisensory cues to help
them understand speech.
More about that later….
How many words to start
More than the student
As many as she can access
visually and physically.
If there are too many, reduce
How to tell if there are too
If the student’s visual attention is better with
E.g., he looks away, pushes away the core word
If his messages appear random across activities
with a variety of communication partners.
If he doesn’t attempt to access the large core
word page but does use simpler displays.
Some Modeling Strategies:
Use natural gestures and facial expressions that
the student can imitate—looking at nearby
objects, making eye contact, nodding, pointing—
to supplement the message.
Select words telegraphically
I, want, go, out
While speaking naturally
I want to go outside
When speaking and listening, be aware of
multiple meanings, e.g. “wet” can mean:
I’m wet, wipe my chin, it’s raining, something
Expand on the user’s message: “Uh-oh! Your
tray is all wet! Let’s clean that up” while pointing
to the core words.
To make the most of limited “real estate”
indicate the word or the picture, past or future.
Gail Van Tatenhove “Pixon” core board.
Core words in dynamic
Word Power available with picture symbls or text only.
Tobii, DynaVox, Prentke Romich, Saltillo, TouchChat for
One-Hit Unity (non-readers)– PRC only
Sequenced Unity – PRC only
Lamp Words for Life
Proloquo2Go—extensive core vocabulary pages that can
shrink to fit. Includes a good “dictionary” of nouns, verbs
TouchChat—the MultiChat vocabulary sets contain a
page of core words that can be expanded modified to fit
the user. Includes a good “dictionary” of nouns, verbs,
Core vocabulary in
Keep the core words available on every page:
Use the left page for core and the right for
category/activity specific items.
Have one core page with little flip pages at the
top for category and activity based vocabulary.
PODD is an extensive core vocabulary
Organization is unique
Designed for generative communication and
perhaps sentence building in the more complex
Use a dedicated device or an iPad app, such as
Proloquo2Go, TouchChat with Word Power,
PODD (compass app)
Take a few minutes to try writing lyrics from a
song, describe a favorite book or movie, or a
sentence describing your favorite TV show.