2006 Conference General Sessions

AAC:  THE POWER OF CORE VOCABULARY IN THE CLASSROOM

 

Presenter(s)
Annalee Anderson
Prentke Romich Company
2616 Beartooth Drive
Billings, MT  59102

Email:  aaprc@wtp.net

Everyone tends to use the same spoken words with the greatest frequency, resulting in the concept of “core vocabulary.”  Providing core vocabulary for the augmented communicator is critical. This session will address what core vocabulary is, and will provide examples of its power in the classroom.

Everyone tends to use the same spoken words with the greatest frequency, resulting in the concept of “core vocabulary.”  For example, in the sentence, “I need you to help me,” all six words are core vocabulary. In the sentence, “I want to go to Starbucks to get a latte,” only “Starbucks” and “latte” are fringe vocabulary.  The remaining 8 words, or 80% of the total number of words in the sentence, are core vocabulary.  The inclusion of these high frequency words is often overlooked when planning vocabulary for an augmented communicator, and when it is addressed, representation of core vocabulary is challenging.  Because these words comprise the vast majority of our spoken messages, providing them for an augmented communicator is critical.  

This session will address what core vocabulary is, and will provide resources for core vocabulary, including a variety of articles and support materials.  References for core vocabulary information for toddlers, preschoolers, school age children, young adults, older adults, and augmented communicators will be provided.  Core vocabulary across different ages, topics, and environments will be addressed.  Some major core vocabulary lists will be compared.  

Fringe vocabulary, also known as extended vocabulary, will be discussed.  Fringe vocabulary is usually much easier to picture, so many communication devices provide extensive fringe vocabulary while they neglect core vocabulary.  The need to provide simultaneous access to both core and fringe vocabulary creates an even bigger challenge.

A variety of classroom scenarios will be provided, with attention to typical communication. The scenarios will be informally analyzed for core vocabulary and fringe vocabulary, and percentages will be calculated.  We will then look at how core vocabulary can be provided on an AAC device, as well as strategies for providing fringe vocabulary.  

We have all experienced communication breakdown as the interactive partner with an augmented communicator in a classroom.  A number of functional strategies for clarifying communication when this occurs will be addressed, including consideration of customizations to the vocabulary in the device, as well as interactive strategies.


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