Introduction | Advanced

Who uses symbols?

You don’t have to have a learning difficulty to benefit enormously from symbols.

Symbols are used around us all the time in everyday life, from instructions in how to use a new appliance, to signs in foreign airports.

Here is a list of just some of the other different groups of people who use symbols:

  • People learning English as a second language
  • People with memory difficulties, dementia or other brain damage
  • People with dyslexia, dyspraxia or spatial/time/organisational difficulties
  • People who are deaf or hearing impaired
  • Young children who have not yet started to read.
  • People with Autistic Spectrum Disorders

What are symbols?

Is it important to understand that symbols are different from pictures. We use the word picture to describe an illustration in a book, or a drawing on the wall. Pictures convey a lot of information at once and their focus is often unclear.

Symbol based language and communication has been developed over many years and has a visual structure that supports different parts of speech.

How symbols can help

Symbols can help support:

  • commmunication – making a symbol communication book can help people make choices.
  • independence and participation – symbols aid understanding which can increase involvement, choice and confidence.
  • literacy and learning – symbol software encourage users to “write” by selecting symbols from a predetermined set in a grid.
  • creativity and self expression – writing letters and stories and expressing your own opinions.
  • access to information – all of us need accessible information and this should be presented in such a way that the reader can understand and use.

This course will include the following activities:

  • Word Processing – Symbol mode and Text mode
  • Grids
  • Environments
  • The use of symbols in the classroom situation – early literacy, communication, PECs, communication books, communication aids.
  • Important short cuts
  • Using photographs

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