Core Language

Core language was created using the most widely used words by developing children.

There are core language lists that contain the first 100, 200 and 300 most widely used words by typically developing children.

Most AAC programs are based on a core vocabulary system.

These are the questions that I have asked about our core language system.

Whose core language?

Is it core for a student with autism or significant cognitive impairments? If it is based on typical developing words, how do I make it applicable to an individual with differing needs.  Instead of just core vocabulary, I think of Functional Core Vocabulary.  This reminds me to focus on what is functional for my specific client.

How do I set up core up for my student?

When I am setting up core or my students, I look at:

  1. Level of my communicator:
  2. age of my communicaotor
  3. their enviroment
  4. Their wants and needs.

So I set up a functional core vocabulary system just for them.  I use the framework for the program that is provided, but personalize it for the child.  So for example if I am setting up a program using TouchChat, I use the inherent folder/color design.

There are various color schemes used in AAC systems.  The two most mainly used are:  Fitzgerald Key and the Goossens, Grain, & Elder System.  It does not matter which scheme you use, but be consistent within the program you are using.

I will admit one of the first things that I do, is look at the vocabulary on the starter page.  Because I take a more functional approach to the vocabulary that I choose, it often looks different that what you would typically see.  Below is an example of my functional core vocabulary for an early communicator and one that is typically set up.

core vocabulary          functional core vocabulary

On the left is the core vocabulary that you might see when you originally set up a vocabulary.  To the right is an example of a core vocabulary that I set up for a student.

  1.  I have “hidden” many of the words to help in the early learning process.
  2. If you look at the verbs, you will see that I have taken out is, were, and have.  Most of the students and children that I set up vocabularies for, do not have the language or understanding for these words.  Now, they may be added in down the road, but in early vocabulary, I want functional words!
  3. I ensure that the starter vocabulary screens aren’t too busy, but also are expandable!  It’s important to start with some buttons and some folders.  We don’t want to have just buttons and single words!  Using folders can help to increase knowledge and understanding of categorization.

These are just a few thoughts and ideas for how to set up a core vocabulary.  Coming soon… Fun and Functional Activities for building language using AAC.