Personalize it

There are so many resources you can find online when looking for ideas on what to include in a communication book. One of my favorite resources has been PrAACtical AAC (http://praacticalaac.org/) which has TONS of articles and videos to sift through. However, it’s also important to recognize that the communication book can and should be customized and tailored to the individual’s specific needs. This book will serve as his voice so it’s important to continually ask, “What would he want to say?” or better yet, involve him in the process.

The next section of my grandpa’s communication book is Common Phrases which is a highly individualized section because it is what he would commonly say to communicate with his family, the nursing staff, or his friends. For example, “I need a shave” is a phrase my grandpa needed to tell my mom so she knew when to shave him. Before the book, she would just ask him every once in a while if he needed one. Now, he had a means to request for one himself. For any adult, getting back the power to initiate communication is so invaluable and not feeling like their wants and needs are continually being anticipated.

Another example of a common phrase my grandpa used was “Get my handicap parking placard.” Every time we took him out, he made sure we didn’t forget to bring it. Often he would just grunt before we left as his way of saying to get it. And although this form of communication worked for him, having it included in his book allowed him to communicate this to unfamiliar communication partners and made him feel like he got his voice back rather than having to resort to grunting.

I used Google to find most of the images I included in the book but if you have an actual picture of the particular object or of the person doing the action (such as the picture of my grandpa getting a shave), that’s even better. The more personalized the book, the more meaningful it will be, and the more likely the person is to use it.

"I need a shave" IMG_0680
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