Considerations for the Selection of Graphic Symbols In the practice of AAC, we most often meet individual consumers who do not “speak” to signal their communicative intent. Rather, our clients often rely on alternative forms for communication; for example, consumers might utilize pictures, gestures, objects, or signs as a method to represent basic concepts (vocabulary). Initially, then, ... Article
Article  |   March 01, 1999
Considerations for the Selection of Graphic Symbols
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Mary Blake Huer
    California State University—Fullerton
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Articles
Article   |   March 01, 1999
Considerations for the Selection of Graphic Symbols
Perspectives on Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations, March 1999, Vol. 5, 3-4. doi:10.1044/cds5.1.3
Perspectives on Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations, March 1999, Vol. 5, 3-4. doi:10.1044/cds5.1.3
In the practice of AAC, we most often meet individual consumers who do not “speak” to signal their communicative intent. Rather, our clients often rely on alternative forms for communication; for example, consumers might utilize pictures, gestures, objects, or signs as a method to represent basic concepts (vocabulary). Initially, then, it is necessary to identify a consumer’s symbolic language code in order to communicate within their AAC system in a meaningful manner. One of the responsibilities of practitioners, therefore, is to carefully consider the selection of “symbols” that best represents whatever it is that the consumer wishes (intends) to communicate. This concept of “representativeness” or symbol selection is not an easy task for clinicians. At a surface level, it would appear that one might simply select pictures or symbols that represent the lexicons that are age appropriate for the child or adult. However, at a deeper level, the seasoned practitioner understands that it is first necessary to determine the extent of language development of the consumer to whom they are providing services. Thus, an early question which must be addressed is: Is the consumer a nonsymbolic or symbolic communicator?
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