Abstract symbols: Symbols that do not resemble the referent at all. For example, the peace symbol is a drawing that does not look like "peace" at all.

Access method (or selection technique): The way in which the user interacts with a device to control it for communication; the method an individual uses to select items for communication, e.g. pointing, single-switch scanning, etc. There are two broad categories of access methods: 1) Direct selection and 2) Indirect Selection

Aided communication: Communication that requires something external to the body to represent meaning, for example pointing to a symbol in a communication notebook

American Sign Language: A manually coded language used primarily by deaf individuals in North America

Auditory fishing: A setting on devices that allows users to browse the items on the display through direct selection by listening to the output at a reduced volume before making a selection.

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC): Refers to ways (excluding natural speech) that a person can communicate a message to a listener. It attempts to compensate (either temporarily or permanently) for the impairment and disability patterns of individuals with severe expressive communication disorders.

Boardmaker (Mayer Johnson Product): A software for creating printed symbol-based communication and educational materials. It is a drawing program combined with a graphics database, which features more than 4,500 Picture Communication Symbols (PCS) in both color and black-and-white. Boardmaker is a tool for creating symbol-based materials such as communication displays for AAC users, visual schedules and social skills stories for children with autism spectrum disorders, and books and symbol-supported literacy activities for beginning and pre-readers. http://www.mayer-johnson.com/

Communication notebook/board: Two low-tech AAC tools that an individual uses to express personally relevant concepts by pointing to line drawings, words, pictures, numbers, and/or the alphabet. The communication board contains the set of symbols on a flat surface; a communication book or notebook has several pages of symbols.

Context-dependent communication: Communication that is limited to some topics in some contexts or with some partners; the individual is not able to communication with anyone about any topic. Context-dependent communication is more effective than Emerging communication because it is not limited to the "here and now" or shared knowledge by the partner.

Core vocabulary: Messages and words that are frequently used by many individuals across many contexts. This vocabulary typically consists of "functor" words such as "is, was, he, she" and common nouns and primary verbs (e.g. person, like, want).

Dedicated devices: Funding agencies (most notably Medicare and Medicaid) have begun to use the term to mean devices that can only be used for face-to-face communication (such as "Speech Generating Devices") and not for writing, printing or any other computer capabilities. Most professionals and vendors use the term "dedicated" to differentiate it from "computer-based systems" that will accept and run Windows or MacIntosh software in addition to the AAC software.

Digitized speech: When the computer or AAC device reproduces messages that have been recorded and stored in digital format. This means that the voice output on the AAC device is recorded by another person, as opposed to the computer creating the voice.

Direct selection: A method of communication in which the individual makes a selection on their AAC device with out the aid of switches, pointers, styluses or other equipment. They are only using their hand or finger to press the buttons.

Durable Medical Equipment (DME): is a term used to describe any medical equipment used in the home to aid in a better quality of living.

Dynamic Displays: A feature of some high technology communication devices that allows the user to change the vocabulary options that is seen. It is esseentially a device with a touch screen. When the individual touches makes a selection on the screen it will speak a word or phrase, or it will navigate to another page of vocabulary. Here is a comparision of Dynamic Display Devices vs Static Display Devices: www.e-bility.com/arataconf/papers/doc/bode.doc

Emerging/Emergent communicator: An individual who does not yet have any reliable means of symbolic communication, although he/she typically has non-symbolic communication. This communication, for example using gestures and facial expressions, can be very useful with highly familiar partners, but it tends to be limited to the "here and now" or rely heavily on the partner's shared knowledge.

Expressive communication: refers to how an individual uses symbolic language, whether through speech, sign, writing, or any other modality.

Feature: A prominent characteristic of a communication device or a communication strategy. For example, voice output is a feature of many AAC devices.

Fitzgerald Key: A language structure that is organized by the presentation of words in the categories People, Verbs, Little Words, Descriptive Words, Things, Places. These categories are also color coded as follows: People = yellow; Verbs = green; Little Words = pink; Words That Tell About = blue; Things and Foods = orange; and Places = purple. Word morphology buttons are colored to match the part of speech with which they are typically associated.

Fringe vocabulary: A vocabulary specific or unique to a AAC user or to one activity or topic.

Gateway Language System: Gateway to Language and Learning© (Gateway©) is a series of page sets designed by Joan Bruno, Ph.D., CCC-SLP. It targets individuals with complex communication needs who use augmentative communication technology (AAC) to communicate. It available on DynaVox Technology communication devices. http://www.gatewaytolanguageandlearning.com/

Keyguard: Used on a static display or Dynamic Display device to guide the individual's fingers when making selections. It is usually a piece of plastic with holes cut into it that fits over the communication device's vocabulary. It helps the individual to make more accurate vocabulary selections.

Independent communication: The ability to communicate with both familiar and unfamiliar partners about any topic in any context. "Independent communication" does not mean that the individual does not rely on technology or assistance from people in the environment.

Individual Education Plan (IEP): A document detailing the educational goals of an individual with disabilities and the special services the individual will receive in order to work toward those goals.

InterAACT: InterAACT is a language framework established by DynaVox to accomplish two goals. First, the framework provides a method for organizing and developing targeted content, symbols, and access methods appropriate for clearly defined groups of augmented communicators. Second, the framework supports augmented communicators’ functional communication, as well as language and literacy development. http://www.dynavoxtech.com/products/interaact/

Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP):

Low-tech (or No tech): A popular name for devices, such as books, boards and pictures, that use little or no electronic technology to promote communication. They are in contrast to high technology or computerized devices.

Medical necessity: A phrase used by insurance companies and 3rd party payers to describe the equipment and services a patient requires for health and safety needs. Insurance companies and 3rd party payers usually only provide equipment and services that meet medical needs, as opposed to educational or social needs.

Mounts: Equipment that allows switch and devices to be secured to tables or wheelchairs to allow access to the for the user.

Minspeak: A type of icon encoding used in devices by one manufacturer: Prentke Romich Company.

Multi-Modal Communication

Novel utterances: Unique messages that an individual produces to say exactly what is intended at a given moment. They are the opposite of "preprogrammed" messages that must be composed and programmed ahead of time. True independence in AAC necessitates the ability to create and deliver novel utterances.

Occupational Therapist (OT): A professional who provides services related to activities of daily living, work, and play to individuals who want to enhance their independence and their quality of life.

Output: The output is primarily thought of as the method by which information is conveyed to the partner; e.g. visual output or auditory output. Some devices also connect to computers, cell phones and the internet, a type of "electronic" output that is used to control the environment.

Partner assisted scanning (PAS). Partner Assisted Navigation (PAN), or Partner Assisted Communication (PAC): A method of communication involving no technology in which the partner identifies (by naming or pointing) the items in the selection set and waits for the user to signal (via a sound or a movement) the item he/she wishes to communicate. This can be done with one-by-one with items in a linear array (e.g. A,B,C,D....) or via a group-item strategy (e.g. A - G, H - L, etc.) gradually narrowing down the selection. It can also be done with words and phrases rather than letters of the alphabet. For more information:

Physical characteristics: The tangible qualities of a device, such as dimensions, weight, and construction materials. These qualities affect the usefulness of a device to a user. For example, a device that is large and bulky may not be portable.

Physical therapist (PT): A professional who helps to restore or improve motor functions in individuals with muscular problems

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS): A method of communication developed by Pyramid Educational Corporation, in which the communicator picks up one or more symbols and hands them to a partner.  http://www.pecs.com/

Plan of Treatment: Is written by private therapists to develop goals for therapy and monitor progress. Medicaid requires these to be done every 6 months and it has to be signed by a doctor.

Pragmatically Ordered Dynamic Display (PODD): The Pragmatic Organization Dynamic Display (PODD) approach provides strategies to support the design, production and implementation of communication systems to enable genuine communication for a variety of functions in all daily environments. PODD begins with with communicative intents and quick words, then allows the individual to express more detailed communication. For more information about the PODD communicaiton books please visit: http://www.lburkhart.com/Podd_Communication_books.pdf or http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/product/27918

Prediction: A rate enhancement technique in which the device or the communication partner guesses the end of a word or phrase, based on previous selections. There are many types of prediction used in devices, some more sophisticated than others.

Preprogrammed utterances: Messages that are composed and stored ahead of time so they can be delivered in a timely manner. Some are urgent messages (e.g. I need help!) and others are social messages (e.g. "You are exactly right!"). They are the opposite of novel utterances created by the user at the time of communication. An individual cannot obtain true independence in AAC with only access to preprogrammed utterances.

Rate enhancement: A technique or strategy used to speed up AAC output because it is so much slower than speech. Most rate enhancements can be grouped into two types: encoding and prediction.

Receptive communication: refers to how well an individual understands communication, whether it is speech, sign or writing. It contrasts with expressive communication.

Reliable communication: means that the individual is able to communicate what he/she intends to communicate, not accidentally push another key or convey a message that was not intended. Reliability is crucial to independence.

Scanning: An "indirect selection" technique in which items are presented sequentially one at a time and the individual activates a switch or otherwise signals to accept one of the items when presented. Scanning, like other indirect selection techniques, is only intended for individuals who do not have sufficient motor control for direct selection techniques.

Selection set: The items (vocabulary/symbols) available to a specific AAC user for communication. They may be presented in a visual, auditory, or tactile form, depending on the user's needs.

Selection technique (or access method): The way in which the user interacts with a device to control it for communication, e.g. pointing, single-switch scanning, etc.

SLP: Abbreviation for Speech-Language Pathologist

Speech Generating Device (SGD): A term used by Medicare, Medicaid and Insurance companies to identify a range of voice output augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems. SGDs are more frequently called AAC systems or devices by professionals and the people who use them.

Static Display: A static display communication device is one where the display representing the stored messages, is a fixed set of pictures and/or words.  These displays are usually called overlays and may be printed on paper or other material.  The overlays are physically changed by the user or an assistant when a different set of vocabulary is required. Here is a comparision of Dynamic Display Devices vs Static Display Devices: www.e-bility.com/arataconf/papers/doc/bode.doc

Symbolic Language: Communication that uses something (e.g. a word, sign, picture, etc.) to represent a concept or meaning. For example, sounds symbolize meaning in our speech while letters and words represent meaning in our writing, and in AAC we use symbols you can hear, see or feel. Symbolic language permits us to talk beyond the "here and now" about things in another time or place. In contrast, non-symbolic communication is limited to the "here and now," for example, using pointing and gestures to respond to what one sees, hears or feels in the immediate environment.

Synthesized Speech: This is when an individual types a message into their device and the device translates it and creates voice output. For example if you type in "I like apples", the program on the device will say "I like apples". This is in contrast to digitized speech where the individiaul has to record their own voice to say "I like apples".

Tangible or tactile symbols: Symbols that can be discriminated based on the use of touch such as shape, texture, consistency

Text-to-speech output: Speech produced when a computer translates the letter of the text into sounds, using a complex set of pronunciation rules.

Unity Language Structure

Visual output: Output for the communication partner that is seen rather than heard; e.g. visual display or printout

Vocabulary capacity: Many devices come with a large vocabulary or symbol dictionary. This total capacity should not be confused with the size of the vocabulary that can be available to the user during communication. For example, the DynaVox with Gateway vocabulary has thousands of words in its dictionary, but few users can utilize more than several hundred of them during conversation.

Vocabulary or messages: The concepts that are available for the AAC user to communicate. This is different from the "vocabulary capacity" of a device, see above.

Vocalizations: Sounds made with the voice that are not speech sounds. The can be involuntary (yawning, laughing, sneezing) or voluntary (cry, moan, yell).

Voice activated switch: An electronic switch that is turned on by sound. Able-bodied consumers see this type of switch in the lights that turn on when you clap hands. These switches can be modified to activate with particular frequencies of sounds, for example humming, and screen out other sounds, for example coughing.

Voice Output Communication Aid (VOCA): The original term used to describe communication devices with speech output. These are now more commonly called "Speech Generating Devices (SGD).

Voice (or Speech) output: Many communication devices convey information to the partner with audible sound. There are two types of voice/speech output: digitized and text-to-speech (or synthesized).

Word Prediction: A feature on high tech devices that generates vocabulary options when letters are typed in. For example if you type in "Ap" options will come up like "Apple", Ape", "Apply" etc. This increase the rate of communication for users.

Adapted from http://depts.washington.edu/augcomm/00_general/glossary.htm