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Breathing new life into communication: Making an old book new again

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How often have you seen an old communication book shelved because it is “no longer needed”: Communication partners say: “She says the same thing all the time anyway”; “We don’t need the book because I know everything he wants”; “I just ask yes/no questions and we always work it out”; or “This book is too slow. If only he had a speech device, he could tell me exactly what he wants!”
Many adults with complex communication needs and their communication partners stop using communication books because they think they are not needed, or they are too slow to use, or they don’t have the right words in them. But if an AAC user’s communication is routinely limited to a series of yes/no questions or basic choices, it does not enable them to express thoughts and opinions, build richer relationships, develop and grow an individual communication style and ultimately have control over their life
With a focus on the experiences of 2 adults who use AAC, this presentation will show clinicians, caregivers, and AAC users, how to breathe new life into existing communication books using the principles of PODD (Pragmatically Organized Dynamic Display) design. The use of pragmatic branch starters, partner powered navigation, and aided language stimulation supported these AAC users to use established knowledge of their communication books, and expand their communication.


Roslyn Irvine    
West Park Healthcare Centre

Malerie Beach    
West Park Healthcare Centre

Jason Nicholls    

Paul Meyers    

Eva Miodonski    
PACE Independent Living


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