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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

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

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.

Article
Publication date: 15 March 2013

Katerina Mavrou, Elena Charalampous and Michalis Michaelides

This study aims to investigate the effects of the use of symbols in the development of young children's ability to form questions in mainstream early‐childhood education…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate the effects of the use of symbols in the development of young children's ability to form questions in mainstream early‐childhood education. Hypotheses examined whether the use of graphic symbols help 3. 5‐5 year‐old students to increase the number of questions and the number of words in the questions asked for a particular subject.

Design/methodology/approach

Following an experimental design approach, an experimental (EG) and a control group (CG) of children, matched to age (4:2) and to their ability to make questions (pre‐test), attended an instructional programme. The EG used Widgit Symbols and the CG the traditional methods used by educators to teach questioning. Data collection involved pre and post oral assessment tests, which measured the number of questions and the length of questions in role play activities.

Findings

Findings of the study showed that symbols have positively affected children's ability to make questions. The EG scored higher than the CG on variables examined, and the within groups improvement (pre to post test) was again higher for the EG.

Research limitations/implications

The paper discusses some possibilities of a lengthier implementation of the use of symbols and their effect on language acquisition.

Practical implications

The study raises some considerations about the development of new teaching methodologies with the use of symbols and Information Communication Technology to enhance language development and maximize learning for all learners.

Originality/value

Usually emphasis is placed on the use of symbols as a means of assistive technology (AT) for the accommodation of the needs of children with disabilities. This paper is an effort to cover a gap in literature and emphasize on the benefits of AT in general learning environments for all children.

Details

Journal of Assistive Technologies, vol. 7 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-9450

Keywords

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

Article
Publication date: 1 December 2007

Maureen Murray

The Children's Society's Shared Care Project in Solihull worked with disabled children and young people to develop ‘Askability’, a unique website (Askability.org.uk). The…

Abstract

The Children's Society's Shared Care Project in Solihull worked with disabled children and young people to develop ‘Askability’, a unique website (Askability.org.uk). The website was designed to make news, sport, film reviews and fun activities available to disabled children who had difficulties accessing websites and television programmes and so had no provision or access to news in a simplified format or language they could understand (ie. pictures, symbols). The website was developed by Solutions Squared in partnership with disabled young people, who have helped both in the design and the update of the website. Since its launch in 2006 the website has achieved and maintained at least 35,000 hits a week worldwide and continuous feedback demonstrates that it is a much‐valued site by both the user group and people who support them. It has evidenced that information can be simplified and made accessible while enriching and empowering young people who are able to communicate using the web.

Details

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

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 20 April 2009

Lorian Mead, Lloyd Mead and Lawrence Williams

This paper is a collaborative report on a visual learning project that utilised a range of information and communication technology (ICT) tools to draw together several…

Abstract

This paper is a collaborative report on a visual learning project that utilised a range of information and communication technology (ICT) tools to draw together several different agencies within the Kingston local community. This was achieved by devising a series of practical activities through which all participants could share and develop their different knowledge and expertise. The focus of the project was on resources for healthy eating skills produced for and by people with learning disabilities. The paper gives the detailed aims and objectives of the project, an outline of the practical activities that were undertaken, and an indication of how the project model may be developed in the future.

Details

Journal of Assistive Technologies, vol. 3 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-9450

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 October 2007

Peter Zentel, Maria Opfermann and Jan Krewinkel

Computers and the Internet as sources of information retrieval and entertainment have become increasingly important. Web‐based environments allow for combining different…

Abstract

Computers and the Internet as sources of information retrieval and entertainment have become increasingly important. Web‐based environments allow for combining different representational codes and addressing different sensory modalities which might be especially beneficial for users with special needs (eg. for blind people or for people with reading and writing disabilities). Our studies investigated which representational formats are beneficial to foster recognition and understanding of users with learning disabilities. As factors, we varied modality (visual, visual + auditory) and codality (text, text + pictures) aspects which led to a 2×2 design, whereas visual information was presented by means of symbols. Dependent variables were ratings of recognition and understanding in the first study and performance on recall in the second study. Participants were students from schools for special educational needs. Our results show that users profit mostly from auditorily presented information accompanied by symbols. This is in line with our expectations because research shows that only a few learners with learning disabilities are able to process written language in a meaningful way. The results are discussed with respect to their implications for ways to make web‐based environments more accessible to disabled users.

Details

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

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 December 2007

Eliada Pampoulou

Abstract

Details

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

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. 15 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-6263

Keywords

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