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How to choose the right vocabulary

More buttons  =  More opportunities

We choose a grid size on the communication device based on what the AAC user can see and touch, not based on cognitive skills, receptive language or what we think the AAC user can do. We often underestimate the learner’s potential. This can result in starting with an AAC system with too few words. If we see them navigate their iPad and find and touch small app icons, we know they can see and touch smaller icons on the screen. 

A lot of people think that the AAC users need to prove themselves by first showing they can use a few buttons per page. This is completely wrong. AAC Apps that only provide a few choices for toys or food we already know the learner likes can be boring. It may be more efficient to just point or reach towards the desired object. The real power of AAC is being able to expand language and communication. AAC users need to have as many buttons per page as they can see and touch. This will give them more words and more opportunities to develop language.

We might think we are making it easier, with fewer buttons to visually scan and bigger buttons to target. In fact, we are making it harder to explore language and develop new skills! Words the AAC learner needs might not exist in the system or, if they are, it can take many steps to navigate to them in different folders. 

This is why we recommend using our Advanced Vocabulary. The grid size is 6 x 9 resulting 54 buttons, which provide a lot of options for the AAC user. We also plan to launch 2 new vocabulary sizes in the next month. 

When you start using Advanced Vocabulary, you can hide buttons that are not essential, so the AAC user will not feel overwhelmed. As the user develops language, you can gradually reintroduce them. It is an excellent way for an AAC user to start on a larger grid size. As you reveal new words, words the user has already learned stay in the same place.

You will see how to hide buttons and how to prepare the vocabulary for the user in the next lesson. Click here to navigate to the next lesson.

If you have any questions, you can always ask us using the contact form in the app.

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