Why core words?
Proloquo2Go has a system for core words that carries the core words approach through to the topic specific pages as well.
As speech therapists part of our job can be to program speech generating devices for the kiddos we serve. It can be so daunting to decide where to start and what vocabulary we need to have.
One way to organize a user areas is the core words approach. Many of the systems we use come with pre-programmed core words page sets. TouchChat's mulit-chat 15 has a separate core words page, where the word-power user areas are core words based.
So with all this talk about core words, why are they so important?
Here are the reasons we love teaching core words:
- There are a few words that make up the vast majority of the things we say, even for us as competent speakers. Now hear me out on this one: when I need a refill on my coffee I may say to my husband "hunny, get me some more coffee." In this example I may only use the word coffee once or twice a day in the morning but I can use the words "get" "me" and "more" every time I need something throughout the day. So- if we can teach our AAC learners to use these core words they will have so many more opportunities to practice throughout the day.
- Second to that point, many of the times that we want our AAC learners to use topic vocabulary (the nouns and action words that are super specific to a single topic) it is not necessary and slightly unnatural. Let's look again at the coffee example. If I were standing in the kitchen, with my mug, and said "give me some more" what are the chances that I would NEED to use the specific word coffee to make my communication partner understand me- not super likely. The message "get me more" has just as much functional communicative value as "get me more coffee." As long as the AAC learner knows where to find topic specific vocabulary (communication breakdowns do still happen) and has access to these words- specific topic vocabulary is just not necessary for most communicative situations.
- Speaking of natural communication, core words allow our AAC learners to participate more fluidly in a conversation. If they are constantly having to change pages to keep up with the conversation that can become so challenging and tiresome. Being able to say "want more" "like that" "need help" allows them to use these messages to communicate about a huge variety of topics.
The takeaway: core words allow your AAC learners to learn a vocabulary that can transcend a variety of topics and be used all day long. It is a one stop shop for multiple communicative functions and many topic of conversation. It can easily be adapted by removing words and adding them in as your AAC learner's vocabulary grow!
Happy AAC Programming!