The Southern California Augmentative and Alternative Communication Network... a support group for professional development, problem solving, leadership, mentoring, and training in the use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) to develop communication in non-speaking and minimally verbal individuals in the Southern California Region.

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Creating Visual Supports with SymbolStix Online

SymbolStix provide the visual icons used in the communication applications TouchChat, Proloquo2Go, and Sonoflex. This library of symbols was originally developed for use in the weekly online newspaper News-2-You, and thousands of SymbolStix can be accessed online with an annual News-2-You subscription ($149). While there is no option to download the library to your computer (must be accessed online), this is a valuable resource for visually supporting learning activities of all kinds.

The SymbolStix online library is searchable, and also categorized. The online search makes analogies or relationships in its search results that the communication apps (TouchChat Proloquo, Sonoflex) might not make, which can be useful when you're  search for the perfect symbol for your button message. 

The SymbolStix online search above was for the word "good." TouchChat brings up 8 results for "good," Proloquo brings up 6, Sonoflex brings up 11. The SymbolStix online search for "good" comes up with 28 symbols, including some related symbols that the apps do not associate with the word. Symbols entitled "hit" and "good sport" as well as "good idea," might be just what you want for your user, but they don't come up in the search results in your communication app unless you search the exact name assigned to the symbol. Why? I have no idea! Side-by-side searching for the best symbol sounds a bit tedious, but once you're familiar with the options, you'll get the hang of it. (Be warned that the sign language symbols and some others in the SymbolStix online search are not available in communication apps)

SymbolStix online has templates for static display communication device overlays, allows you to create unique visual aids to support symbol-word association, and can act as a clip art generator for any learner who benefits from visual supports.  add visuals to existing materials that reflect the exact icons included in the learner's communication system. 

(This social story was created in Word, SymbolStix were copied and pasted into the doc. The SymbolStix for "calm down" was used for the phrase "It's OK")
Communication Board Template - carrier phrase
GoTalk 9+ Template View
(The SymbolStix for "danger" was used for the phrase "be careful")

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