Speaking students have 1000's of words they can use to name, request, and simply talk about all the items around them. For students with AAC devices, these are all included in their systems.  For our students using light tech supports, we need to provide access to these both individually and in the classroom through communication books, posters, wall displays and classroom sized communication books.

​Look here for ideas to give students their own individual fringe word options.

You can add fringe vocabulary to your room without making it a mess.  Think about "decorating with symbols!" We need to be able to say the name of each of our peers in the classroom.  How about a "Meet the Room" poster with everyone's picture on it?  Decorative, and a functional way for a student to tattle on another, ask to play/work with a specific friend, or ask why a particular friend is out of school, simply by pointing to their photo!

You can use a large box from your janitorial staff as a handy standing display as well.  Use spray adhesive to add felt, or other velcro adhering fabric, to wrap the box and make handy display.  You'll have a four sided, standing felt board where you can display picture symbols of categories of words you may need during the day.  Think weather words, calendar words and clothing items.

​If you need a list of simple categories and items to start with, click here.

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  • Picture symbol representations of words in categories
  • Large display to hold the words in an organized, and hopefully appealing, manner​​
  • Individual sized display of vocabulary symbols relevant to context
  • Visually and cognitively accessible symbols specific to individual student needs.

Student Vocabulary Displays

All students need access to a large vocabulary of specific noun categories!  For our AAC users we have to be a bit more creative in how we can display all those words.  We want to be sure the students have access to nouns in categories including school supplies, places, people, clothing, animals, foods, drinks and more.  They also need access to descriptive terms such as colors, feelings and spatial concepts.

AAC Flipbooks are an easy solution to giving students plenty of fringe words in a comprehensive communication book.

There are other options as well!  You might consider having a few well placed communication boards to give your student words specific to activities/environments he's engaged in.  By the work table, you might have a board of her favorite motivators.  You may have a board of the characters in the book of the month.  During your cooking lesson, you might make sure each student has their own picture recipe and ingredients cards.  Much like how we engineer our classroom environment with large symbol displays, simply making sure each student has these symbols close by for independent access can be all that needed to allow the student to actively participate.Accessibility:The main difference between individual fringe vocabulary displays and our large classroom displays is that these displays are customized to match an individual student's needs.  Some students may have photographs, others may have objects.  Students with cortical visual challenges may have high contrast, low complexity symbols. Making sure each student has symbols that they understand ensures they will be able to participate.


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