Making AAC access to fringe & core vocabulary as easy as possible.
Score consists of:
The most frequently used core words are consistently organised in a static frame around a dynamic block of fringe words. This clever setup gives the user access to core vocabulary at any time. Grammar functions are dynamically presented, based on the part of speech, and can be used to build grammatically correct messages. Learners and their communication partners use and practice with a set of selected focus words for a number of weeks, receptively as well as expressively, and in different contexts. The idea is that if the child’s language development is facilitated and subsequently improves, then the child’s communication skills will also improve. The availability of both paper based and power based resources allows a multi model approach and supports modelling variation. Score is available in PCS, Widgit and SymbolStix.
In addition to the digital version, SCORE also has a paper-based version:
The paper-based material is perfect to support you with your first steps using SCORE. You can also use them additionally to the digital version.
Use them as place mats, stick them on a table top, take them to the swimming pool laminated.
Language is everywhere!
The A4 and A3 sheets can be downloaded. In this way you can adapt the prints within Mind Express to the needs of the individual user.
You can also change the fringe vocabulary in the middle section.
Having seen SCORE at an ACE Centre information day I immediately thought of a pupil of mine who I had supported with his AAC for the last 15 years. I loved the principle of the binder that could either be used with the aim of progressing to the same vocabulary package on a device or used as a low tech backup. I liked the layout of the binder with the core vocabulary on the inside in the same place. I thought it was clever to have the fringe vocabulary on removable pages which can be introduced at the pace of the user to teach them how to navigate. For the young man I had in mind this would have been the ideal low tech system to teach him the core vocabulary and joining symbols to create a sentence before moving him onto a high tech device.
As mentioned the young man I tried this with was already using a vocabulary package (touch chat HD with word power) on an iPad. Over the years he had trialed high tech devices but discarded them as he felt they made him stand out and weren’t visually as cool as he wanted. We had a period of time where he didn’t want to use any device at all but eventually we found the right fit for him in the form of an iPad as he already used it for other functions such as email and taking photos. What I was looking for was a low tech alternative for those times when he wasn’t up to or couldn’t use his iPad.
While Liam is a competent AAC user and is very independent in his social and functional communication around the college campus he has always been a reluctance to use AAC outside of education. At home Mum can understand him, he uses a thumbs up and down to answer yes/no questions as well as a mix of pointing, vocalisations and using his Xbox controller to spell out tricky words. He is reluctant to use any AAC at home and so are his family. They get by with their own form of communication and he is happy with that, something which as an advocate for AAC I’ve had to make peace with and respect.
Where I saw the SCORE binder for Liam was those times in the future when he is out in the community in 12 months’ time after leaving college and being a 22 year old man with a lot to say. How would he communicate with new people if his family weren’t around and he was with people who didn’t know how to understand him? How would he show people just how much he was capable of in an environment where he didn’t want to take his high tech device?
I showed his Mum the SCORE binder and she was happy for him to try it at home. I explained that Liam could use it independently and he could sign ‘book’ to ask for it if it wasn’t in his reach. I assured Mum that simply having it in his bag when he goes out will give him the opportunity to communicate with so many more people in greater depth which he is more than capable of.
The issue I had with the binder was just how many cells were on a page and the size of them made the writing very difficult for Liam and his communication partner to read. With some simple editing I was able to re print the binder pages resizing each cell to 4 times its original size. This made it much more accessible for Liam who has direct access but needs a larger cell. I found I was able to reduce some of the vocabulary as many words were similar and I liaised with a speech and language therapist for this which I would always advise. Liam is a competent speller and he really liked the spelling board function of the binder.
I reduced the number of fringe pages Liam had in his binder as he was initially overwhelmed. We looked at what pages were essential in his everyday life and he now has about 15 fringe vocab pages. I also chose to utilise the back page of the binder with some of the cells I had cut from the inside, I added vocabulary that he would use less frequently such as numbers and days of the week onto the back.
“Liam’s favourite aspect of the binder is the front cover, he loves the quick fire comments and these are the ones he uses the most“.
In college when he is having physiotherapy and isn’t in the mind-set to use his iPad based on the position he is in or because it’s too much effort, he uses his SCORE binder. With the binder he can not only have his basic needs met just by using the cover and can also engage with his peers and make jokes to his tutors which he loves. His most commonly used jokes and phrases are on the cover and the bio at the top gives new people an insight into his capabilities and how he communicates. His most commonly used phrase with the binder is ‘can you please give me 5 minutes’.
Liam has been using the binder in college for about 3 months now and can navigate the binder independently with the larger cells.
“When I asked Liam what he thinks of the SCORE binder his exact words were ‘I love it’”.
Liam has asked me to strengthen the tabs on the fringe vocabulary pages to make them easier to turn for him. He took the book home over Christmas to use with his family which is a big step for everyone.