communication system that includes three-dimensional symbols
(objects) and two-dimensional symbols (photographs and drawings)
to support communication and language development. Rowland and
Schweigert (2000) include photos and drawings because they are
permanent and can be touched and manipulated and may have perceptual
link to their referents.
provide a receptive and expressive means of communication that
allows reference to people, objects, places, concepts and events
beyond the immediate context, and that fits the childs
sensory and cognitive abilities and experiences.
represent the concept of "drink" using a cup.
object: a cup.
of object: handle of a cup.
associated object: piece of plastic.
symbols that are tactile must be selected from the childs
the intended message clearly on the symbol to clarify the
intent for the communication partner.
the physical ability of the child to explore and manipulate
symbols should be displayed to meet the childs learning
needs, (e.g., in a calendar box, on a communication board,
in a binder separated in categories, or on the place that
the symbol represents).
symbols can be used together to compose a message.
a continuum of communication options to children ranging from
identical objects to line drawings.
relatively low demands on the childs cognitive, memory,
and representational skills. Only require recognition from an
array of symbols that are permanent.
of tangible symbols requires only a simple motor response from
the child such as pointing, touching, picking up, extending,
or looking at the symbol to make the message clear.
size of symbols may be reduced over time to make them more portable.
symbols are not a conventional communication method and may
not be understood by all communication partners or used consistently
with the child.
associated objects may not be easily understood and associated
with referents by some children.
use of whole objects may not be portable.
Symbols represents a synthesis of information gained from
Project SALUTEs focus groups, National Advisory Committee,
staff activities, and a review of relevant literature such as
the following bibliography.