Monday, May 25, 2015

A Few Words About a Few Good Words - 5 Reasons to Use Core Vocabulary

AAC needs to be approached with the idea that the user does, indeed, have his own thoughts he wants to express – and that these thoughts are valuable.  It needs to be approached with the idea that the AAC user can be competent.  

According to the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA), the most effective approach to augmentative communication is one that allows for spontaneous novel utterance generation (SNUG).  SNUG allows the AAC user to say whatever he wants whenever he wants.

In order to maximize SNUG, vocabulary selection is of prime importance. And once we have chosen the vocabulary, we need to consider how to organize it. 
Language based systems provide the AAC user the opportunity to say something new or self-selected, and allow the user the flexibility to communicate his own unique thoughts.  The question then is how to organize those words in the system.  

One answer to that question is to use core vocabulary. Core vocabulary AAC organization provides an organized vocabulary set the users can use across environments and contexts, and that intervention can target in any context.


  1. Core vocabulary is comprised of high frequency words that are multi-purpose and versatile, and is independent of cognitive ability.  
  2. Core words are a small number of words that are applicable across place and topic, reducing the complexity of AAC system pages.
  3. Core words are used frequently, while fringe words are used less frequently. Core words are used in multiple contexts and environments. Thus more communicating can be accomplished with fewer words. 
  4. Core vocabulary includes a variety of parts of speech, thus including more function words. 
  5. Use of core vocabulary AAC systems allows users to gain better understanding of word meanings, gives them greater diversity of messages in a greater variety of contexts, and allows them to focus on language acquisition rather than access.  With the stability of location of vocabulary, and limited need for navigation, users can free up the cognitive energy previously needed to learn discriminations.
Here is a core vocabulary communication board to get you started:





On to the next blog:  oldschoolspeech.blogspot.com 




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