I-ASC: Identifying Appropriate Symbol Communication

Communication aid attributes

Communication aid attributes

Communication aid attributes describe hardware and software components of AAC systems that the team needs to consider. The I-ASC findings are more focused on high tech communication aids however many of implications are relevant to many different types of AAC systems e.g. non-electronic AAC systems.

Hardware aesthetics

This refers to perceptions of visual appearance and voice qualities of the communication aid. Findings suggest that aesthetics impacted on decisions.

Implications
  • Ensure you determine the views of all team member on the look, feel and voice of the system.
  • Ensure views related to aesthetics and the reasons behind these views are adequately considered in the decision making process.
I-ASC Resources
Other Resources
  • Please email i-asc@mmu.ac.uk if you know of resources that should be included here
Learn more

Judge, S., Randall, N., Goldbart, J., Lynch, Y., Moulam, L., Meredith, S., and Murray, J. (2019) The language and communication attributes of graphic symbol communication aids – A systematic review and narrative synthesis. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology

Murray, J., Lynch, Y., Meredith, S., Moulam, L., Goldbart, J., Smith, M., Randall, N., Judge, S., (2019) Professionals’ decision making in recommending communication aids in the UK: Competing considerations Augmentative and Alternative Communication.

Webb, E.J.D., Meads, D., Lynch, Y., Randall, N., Judge, S., Goldbart, J., Meredith, S., Moulam, L., Hess, S., and Murray, J. (2019) What’s important in AAC decision making for children? Evidence from a best-worst scaling survey, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, doi: 10.1080/07434618.2018.1561750

Hardware reliability

In essence, this means how frequently or readily the aided AAC system stops working. Prior to any recommendation, findings indicate it is important to understand the reliability of the potential communication aid(s).

Implications
  • Determine the reliability related to battery life and capacity to withstand knocks and drops before recommending aids.
  • Be mindful of the likely time needed for repairs and what the local backup plans would be in case of breakdown.
  • Ascertain what general supplier support is offered and in the case of breakdown the availability of temporary replacements.
I-ASC Resources
Other Resources

Please email i-asc@mmu.ac.uk if you know of resources that should be included here

Learn more

Judge, S., Randall, N., Goldbart, J., Lynch, Y., Moulam, L., Meredith, S., and Murray, J. (2019) The language and communication attributes of graphic symbol communication aids – A systematic review and narrative synthesis. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology

Murray, J., Lynch, Y., Meredith, S., Moulam, L., Goldbart, J., Smith, M., Randall, N., Judge, S., (2019) Professionals’ decision making in recommending communication aids in the UK: Competing considerations Augmentative and Alternative Communication.

Webb, E.J.D., Meads, D., Lynch, Y., Randall, N., Judge, S., Goldbart, J., Meredith, S., Moulam, L., Hess, S., and Murray, J. (2019) What’s important in AAC decision making for children? Evidence from a best-worst scaling survey, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, doi: 10.1080/07434618.2018.1561750

Hardware data storage and processing

This is the ability of the communication aid to manage data and data processing.

Implications
  • Be mindful of the system’s memory and storage capacity and ability to run multimedia files if that is important to the child or young person.
I-ASC Resources
Other Resources

Please email i-asc@mmu.ac.uk if you know of resources that should be included here

Learn more

Judge, S., Randall, N., Goldbart, J., Lynch, Y., Moulam, L., Meredith, S., and Murray, J. (2019) The language and communication attributes of graphic symbol communication aids – A systematic review and narrative synthesis. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology

Murray, J., Lynch, Y., Meredith, S., Moulam, L., Goldbart, J., Smith, M., Randall, N., Judge, S., (2019) Professionals’ decision making in recommending communication aids in the UK: Competing considerations Augmentative and Alternative Communication.

Webb, E.J.D., Meads, D., Lynch, Y., Randall, N., Judge, S., Goldbart, J., Meredith, S., Moulam, L., Hess, S., and Murray, J. (2019) What’s important in AAC decision making for children? Evidence from a best-worst scaling survey, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, doi: 10.1080/07434618.2018.1561750

Software consistency and intuitiveness of design

This refers to the consistency of page layouts, including the navigational functions to select a desired output. Findings suggest that systems vary in how their design supports users moving through the vocabulary organisation and the user intuitively navigating the system.

Implications
  • Aim to select systems that are designed with consistency and support intuitive navigation to vocabulary and functions to reduce the child or young person’s cognitive load.
I-ASC Resources
Other Resources
  • Please email i-asc@mmu.ac.uk if you know of resources that should be included here
Learn more

Judge, S., Randall, N., Goldbart, J., Lynch, Y., Moulam, L., Meredith, S., and Murray, J. (2019) The language and communication attributes of graphic symbol communication aids – A systematic review and narrative synthesis. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology

Light, J., Wilkinson, K., Thiessen, A., Beukelman, D. and Koch Fager S., (2019) Designing effective AAC displays for individuals with developmental or acquired disabilities: State of the science and future research directions, Augmentative and Alternative Communication doi : 10.1080/07434618.2018.1558283

Murray, J., Lynch, Y., Meredith, S., Moulam, L., Goldbart, J., Smith, M., Randall, N., Judge, S., (2019) Professionals’ decision making in recommending communication aids in the UK: Competing considerations Augmentative and Alternative Communication.

Webb, E.J.D., Meads, D., Lynch, Y., Randall, N., Judge, S., Goldbart, J., Meredith, S., Moulam, L., Hess, S., and Murray, J. (2019) What’s important in AAC decision making for children? Evidence from a best-worst scaling survey, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, doi: 10.1080/07434618.2018.1561750

Software ease of editing

This references how intuitive and easy is it to add, and change vocabulary and customise other features such as changing the volume, editing symbols, adding pages, etc. Findings suggest that it is important to consider the amount of editing that each child may need. For example, will they need a lot of personalised vocabulary or a customised layout?

Implications
  • Consider trade-offs between ease of editing and quantity of editing when choosing a particular software package
  • Consider who will take on the editing role in the implementation
I-ASC Resources
Other Resources

Please email i-asc@mmu.ac.uk if you know of resources that should be included here

Learn more

Judge, S., Randall, N., Goldbart, J., Lynch, Y., Moulam, L., Meredith, S., and Murray, J. (2019) The language and communication attributes of graphic symbol communication aids – A systematic review and narrative synthesis. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology

Murray, J., Lynch, Y., Meredith, S., Moulam, L., Goldbart, J., Smith, M., Randall, N., Judge, S., (2019) Professionals’ decision making in recommending communication aids in the UK: Competing considerations Augmentative and Alternative Communication.

Software graphic representation

This refers to the type of graphic symbol used. Findings suggest that consideration should be given to the type of graphic representations, but there were mixed views on the relative importance of the type of symbols chosen. 

Implications
  • Graphic-symbol type discussions need to include the potential memory load for children and those supporting them during the initial teaching and learning period
  • Graphic symbol representation choices should be informed by an assessment of the child’s current symbolic understanding and learning preferences.
  • Be mindful of the rationale for transitioning between graphic symbol systems and aim to make changes only for child need reasons if possible.
  • Develop a plan to support transitions between graphic symbol systems
  • Develop a plan to support the transition from graphic symbol to literacy.
  • Aim to ensure the symbols selected are culturally appropriate, e.g., UK localised.
I-ASC Resources
Other Resources

Please email i-asc@mmu.ac.uk if you know of resources that should be included here

Learn more

Judge, S., Randall, N., Goldbart, J., Lynch, Y., Moulam, L., Meredith, S., and Murray, J. (2019) The language and communication attributes of graphic symbol communication aids – A systematic review and narrative synthesis. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology

Murray, J., Lynch, Y., Meredith, S., Moulam, L., Goldbart, J., Smith, M., Randall, N., Judge, S., (2019) Professionals’ decision making in recommending communication aids in the UK: Competing considerations Augmentative and Alternative Communication.

Software vocabulary

This refers to the size and organisation of vocabulary available on the communication aid.

Implications
  • Be mindful of the purpose of the communication aid, e.g., to augment speech or replace speech as the purpose may influence the vocabulary selection.
  • Consider the availability of relevant core vocabulary and fringe vocabulary
  • Take into account the learning styles and preferences of children and young people when choosing vocabulary organisation and layout, e.g., fixed or dynamic
  • Vocabulary should be both developmentally and age appropriate.
  • Plan vocabulary in light of current and future needs
I-ASC Resources
Other Resources

Please email i-asc@mmu.ac.uk if you know of resources that should be included here

Learn more

Judge, S., Randall, N., Goldbart, J., Lynch, Y., Moulam, L., Meredith, S., and Murray, J. (2019) The language and communication attributes of graphic symbol communication aids – A systematic review and narrative synthesis. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology

Light, J., Wilkinson, K., Thiessen, A., Beukelman, D. and Koch Fager S., (2019) Designing effective AAC displays for individuals with developmental or acquired disabilities: State of the science and future research directions, Augmentative and Alternative Communication doi : 10.1080/07434618.2018.1558283

Murray, J., Lynch, Y., Meredith, S., Moulam, L., Goldbart, J., Smith, M., Randall, N., Judge, S., (2019) Professionals’ decision making in recommending communication aids in the UK: Competing considerations Augmentative and Alternative Communication.

Webb, E.J.D., Meads, D., Lynch, Y., Randall, N., Judge, S., Goldbart, J., Meredith, S., Moulam, L., Hess, S., and Murray, J. (2019) What’s important in AAC decision making for children? Evidence from a best-worst scaling survey, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, doi: 10.1080/07434618.2018.1561750