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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2020

Eliada Pampoulou and Donald R. Fuller

Graphic symbols have been used widely in the field of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). The advancement of technology in recent years has stimulated their…

Abstract

Purpose

Graphic symbols have been used widely in the field of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). The advancement of technology in recent years has stimulated their development even further, thereby providing speech-language pathologists (SLPs) a wide range of options to choose for the individuals they support. However, existing literature on graphic symbols is scant and clinicians must base their decisions almost solely on clinical judgment. This paper aims to investigate the factors SLPs consider when choosing corpuses of graphic symbols for their clients.

Design/methodology/approach

An online survey was used that allowed multiple-choice responses. Data were analyzed and presented primarily as percentages.

Findings

Most respondents used graphic symbols with people having developmental disorders, and the corpuses of symbols they drew upon were based predominantly on availability, characteristics of the individual’s impairment or disability and intelligibility to the user and his or her communication partners. Existing policies related to graphic symbols also influence clinicians’ choices. SLPs search for support mainly from professional associations and training providers. In terms of use with technology, ready-made symbol packages for clinicians to use were found to be attractive.

Practical implications

Professional associations and institutions that focus on AAC need to provide adequate support to clinicians with a foundation based on evidence-based practice.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first research that focuses on current practices concerning the factors SLPs take into consideration when choosing the optimum graphic symbol corpus(es) for their clients.

Details

Journal of Enabling Technologies, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-6263

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 21 July 2020

Eliada Pampoulou and Ioanna Diamanti

Graphic symbols, such as photographs, Makaton and Pics for PECS, are often used in the field of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) to support people with…

Abstract

Purpose

Graphic symbols, such as photographs, Makaton and Pics for PECS, are often used in the field of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) to support people with complex communication disorders. However, there is little research focusing on the preferences of people with disabilities in terms of which type of graphic symbol they prefer to use for their communication interactions. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the symbol preferences of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder and those with intellectual disability. The research questions are as follows: Do people prefer coloured or black and white symbols? What type(s) of symbols do they prefer to use for their communication interactions? What type(s) of symbols do they consider more appropriate for children? What type(s) of symbols do they consider more appropriate for adults?

Design/methodology/approach

A questionnaire with simple instructions was used to elicit the information from the participants. Through purposive sampling, 25 participants between the ages of 20 and 32 were selected. Twelve participants had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, while the rest had mild or moderate intellectual disability.

Findings

Most of the participants preferred coloured symbols. Of all the six types of symbols, they preferred to use photographs and considered these as being the most appropriate symbols for adults, whereas, for them, Talking Mats is better for children.

Originality/value

It is vital that the voices of people with disabilities are heard and taken into account when services are to be provided.

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Article
Publication date: 19 June 2017

Eliada Pampoulou

The ongoing development of new graphic symbol sets in conjunction with a lack of literature supporting professionals in choosing the optimum set(s) for their users was the…

Abstract

Purpose

The ongoing development of new graphic symbol sets in conjunction with a lack of literature supporting professionals in choosing the optimum set(s) for their users was the driving force behind this research project. The purpose of this paper is to explore the factors that professionals take into consideration when they choose one graphic symbol set instead of another.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on the phenomenology of pedagogy, semi-structured interviews were used with three speech and language therapists (SLTs), three special education teachers, one teacher for pupils with hearing loss, one foundation year teacher and one SENCo/deputy head teacher. Thematic analysis was used to process the data.

Findings

The results have shown that when professionals choose a graphic symbol set for their user(s), they focus on the iconicity, the software availability and its features. They are also influenced by any existing graphic symbol policies in the area they work. Training and follow-up support also influence professionals’ experiences when choosing graphic symbol sets for their users.

Practical implications

Given the limited literature pertaining to the topic of this paper, it is proposed that further research is conducted in order to build the theoretical and practical frameworks upon which professionals (such as SLTs and teachers), symbols developers and academics can base their future work.

Originality/value

This research aims to contribute to the scant literature regarding the factors that SLTs take into consideration when choosing a graphic symbol set for their user(s).

Details

Journal of Enabling Technologies, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-6263

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 18 September 2017

Eliada Pampoulou

Graphic symbols, such as the Picture Communication Symbols, Makaton and Widgit, have been traditionally used in the field of augmentative and alternative communication…

Abstract

Purpose

Graphic symbols, such as the Picture Communication Symbols, Makaton and Widgit, have been traditionally used in the field of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) in order to support people with little or no functional speech. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

However, given the fact that the terminology remains contested in the existing literature as well as the multidisciplinary nature surrounding graphic symbols, in more recent years and the number of terms used in different fields, it is vital that the terminology of graphic symbols is revisited again.

Findings

In the last section of the paper, a definition of graphic symbols is proposed.

Originality/value

The value of this paper lies in the fact that while field of graphic symbols have been used in the AAC for more than 30 years, there is still no consensus regarding the meaning of the terminology used.

Details

Journal of Enabling Technologies, vol. 11 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-6263

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 14 July 2021

Eliada Pampoulou and Donald R. Fuller

When the augmentative and alternative communication (ACC) model (Lloyd et al., 1990) was proposed, these components of symbols were not considered, nor were they…

Abstract

Purpose

When the augmentative and alternative communication (ACC) model (Lloyd et al., 1990) was proposed, these components of symbols were not considered, nor were they contemplated when superordinate (Lloyd and Fuller, 1986) and subordinate levels (Fuller et al., 1992) of AAC symbol taxonomy were developed. The purpose of this paper is to revisit the ACC model and propose a new symbol classification system called multidimensional quaternary symbol continuum (MQSC)

Design/methodology/approach

The field of AAC is evolving at a rapid rate in terms of its clinical, social, research and theoretical underpinnings. Advances in assessment and intervention methods, technology and social issues are all responsible to some degree for the significant changes that have occurred in the field of AAC over the last 30 years. For example, the number of aided symbol collections has increased almost exponentially over the past couple of decades. The proliferation of such a large variety of symbol collections represents a wide range of design attributes, physical attributes and linguistic characteristics for aided symbols and design attributes and linguistic characteristics for unaided symbols.

Findings

Therefore, it may be time to revisit the AAC model and more specifically, one of its transmission processes referred to as the means to represent.

Originality/value

The focus of this theoretical paper then, is on the current classification of symbols, issues with respect to the current classification of symbols in terms of ambiguity of terminology and the evolution of symbols, and a proposal for a new means of classifying the means to represent.

Peer review

The peer review history for this article is available at: https://publons.com/publon10.1108/JET-04-2021-0024

Details

Journal of Enabling Technologies, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-6263

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2007

Eliada Pampoulou and Cate Detheridge

Although theories in the past claimed that in order to be literate someone has to acquire specific prerequisite skills, more recent theories suggest that for some aspects…

Abstract

Although theories in the past claimed that in order to be literate someone has to acquire specific prerequisite skills, more recent theories suggest that for some aspects of language, symbols can help people to access literacy. In this paper, we speculate that symbols can help children in schools to cope with their difficulties with print. Widgit Literacy Symbols have been developed over the last 20 years as a means of enhancing access to written communication and curriculum. Through the Symbol Inclusion Project (SIP), Widgit Software has been working closely with teachers in Warwickshire, creating resources for students in schools. Anecdotal evidence from the SIP project suggests that symbols can help children to anticipate their difficulties with literacy as well as to increase their motivation and self‐esteem and improve their behaviour.

Details

Journal of Assistive Technologies, vol. 1 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-9450

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2007

Eliada Pampoulou

Abstract

Details

Journal of Assistive Technologies, vol. 1 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-9450

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2007

Chris Abbott

Abstract

Details

Journal of Assistive Technologies, vol. 1 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-9450

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