If you are beginning to use pictures for augmentative communication, it’s best to start with expressive communication. Begin by identifying common requests the communicator will want or need to use. Next, create a simple picture card to symbolize the request. You can purchase picture cards sets that are already laminated or picture software Boardmaker is the most expensive but cheaper software priced well under $100 with thousands of photos is now available too. You can also take photographs of objects yourself or download free pictures off the internet.
Some common expressive symbols include:
- Say hello or good-bye
- Make a request for an object such as a toy, food, or an activity
- Start, continue or stop an activity
- Ask for help
- Express feelings such as happy, sad, sick or tired.
- Indicate a preference or choice
When teaching someone to use picture cards remember:
- Start slow.
- Use simple picture cards that depict high use words like drink, food, help or toilet.
- Be consistent.
- Be patient!
Once you have a set of picture communication cards that it looks like the communicator will use often you may want to laminate them. Often people will laminate their cards and then use velcro coins to attach cards to fabric communication books, choice boards or schedules. For in-depth information on using picture communication a very helpful and easy to follow book is A Pictures Worth.