The AssistiveWare Core Word Classroom

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Welcome to our weekly CENMAC blog post

The AssistiveWare Core Word Classroom  | by AssistiveWare 


In this week’s edition, CENMAC have invited the team at AssistiveWare to introduce the Core Word Classroom, a large collection of learning resources, which are designed to support implementation of any communication system that is based on core words. 

Amanda Hartmann, Speech Language Pathologist

Research and best practice continue to show us just how important it is to give AAC learners access to a robust balanced AAC system, complete with core words.

The AssistiveWare Core Word Classroom is designed to help people to figure out how to actually use core word vocabularies day to day, so Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) learners can become successful and independent communicators.


All resources in the Core Word Classroom are free of charge and developed around fundamental best practices in AAC: 


Best Practice #1 – Use core words

Research and best practice continue to show us just how important it is to give AAC learners access to a robust balanced AAC system, complete with core words. Core words are the building blocks of language that make up over 80% of the words we say. When we give access to these words, we are giving AAC learners power and flexibility in their communication. The resources in the Core Word Classroom support a team or family to plan and implement core words into their everyday activities and routines. 


Best Practice #2 – Modelling/Aided Language Stimulation

We also know from research and best practice that AAC learners who are learning to communicate with a communication device need to see their system being used by the people around them, in real situations, communicating real messages. The team needs to focus on modelling core words consistently throughout the day. The Core Word Classroom has a big focus on modelling. It provides materials that will make it easier for teams and families to model core words regularly in daily situations and during speech therapy sessions. 


Best Practice #3 – Communicate everywhere

Some form of AAC needs to be available everywhere, so that even in environments where a power-based device can’t go, you can still communicate. The Core Word Classroom provides a free communication board with core words on one side and alphabet on the other. The board is available in English, Spanish, French and Dutch! Download the PDF, print it out and laminate it, and you have a communication lifeline for times when your regular AAC system isn’t on hand. 


Communicating everywhere means communicating at home as well as at school. Whilst the Core Word Classroom may sound teacher/student/school focused, AssistiveWare encourage anyone who is supporting a person using AAC to join the classroom. There is learning for everyone! The resources can really be applied to most environments and be used by all. 


So what will you find in AssistiveWare’s Core Word Classroom?


  • Core Word Planners: These are specific guides that help teams plan for the core words to teach and model in everyday and routine activities. Download Core Word Planner example (PDF)




  • Core Word of the Week Displays: These are printable and easy-to-read so that they can be displayed prominently in the classroom and around the school. The displays help team members to model more core words, all day, everyday! Download Word of the Week Display example (PDF)



The 3Ws

All of the materials focus on three essential elements: the 3Ws: 

  • WORDS – the core words that could be used for the activity 
  • WHYS – the reasons why we communicate (e.g. Needs & Wants, Giving & Getting information, Social Interaction) 
  • WAYS – the ways we combine words and add word inflections 


All of the materials will give you the Words, Whys, and Ways. They provide you with a comprehensive plan to build language for your AAC learners – and to move beyond nouns and requesting!

Whilst the resources are mostly PDF documents that you can print out and display or use for planning, you will also find videos, reference lists, information and handouts about AAC and AAC strategies. 


How can you access the AssistiveWare Core Word Classroom?

Access the free AssistiveWare Core Word Classroom.  


Many thanks to Amanda at AssistiveWare. The CENMAC team hope you have enjoyed this feature and would encourage you to share your experiences of using the Core Word Classroom with our community via social media.    

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