So you're going to have a go....
In this part of the website you will find some helpful tools that you will need to make your own accessible information. We've got everything from a photographic database to guidelines about sensory timetables.
The first place to start is to think about adding visual information. If you've read some of the national guidelines (see Part 1) you will see that they all talk about adding pictures or symbols to text to make the information easier.
Before you start adding visual information you need to know about 'symbolic development'.
Symbolic development is the term used to describe the developmental process of understanding visual information. We all began by understanding the real object, then over time and through education we learnt to recognise the written word. The diagram below shows you the process through which we learn to understand visual information;
You will see that the level of complexity relates to the amount of sensory information available, for example, the real object is the easiest to understand because we can see it, touch it, taste it and smell it. As the information becomes more abstract the sensory elements reduce e.g. the written word 'apple' doesn't have any of the sensory elements but it does trigger our memory of previous experiences of an apple.
Symbolic development is especially important if you are making accessible information for one particular individual. Some people with learning disabilities might be at an early stage of development and therefore using symbols might be pointless. To help you tailor the accessible information to meet an individual's needs I have designed a screening toolkit which is available below....
Here is a video clip of me screening someone's symbolic development..
So you know what level of visual information you need, what next?
Once you have decided what level of visual information you need, have a look at the resources below which you might find helpful in making your accessible information...
For those at a photographic level we have put together a photo database of places local to Portsmouth. We have taken 100's of photographs, so to make them easy to find you can either look within the different categories e.g. 'shops' or you can search by name e.g. 'Palmerston Road'.
If you have any photographs that you would like to add to the website or any idea's of additional photographs that would be helpful to have, please let me know by e-mail (see Part 5)
For those at the symbolic level there is a little more to think about as there are many different types of symbol packages. First of all it is important to find out if the individual has used symbols in the past, if so what type of symbols? Where possible it is important to try and use the symbols that they are familiar with.
In the Portsmouth area the main symbol package we use is Boardmaker by Mayer-Johnson. This is the software that is used within the local special schools, Speech & Language Therapy and Learning Disability services. The majority of the symbols used on this website come from the Boardmaker software.
Most symbol packages come at a cost, however Mayer-Johnson has kindly agreed for us to have some symbols that you can use for free.
If you would like to know more about Boardmaker, clink on the link below...
Not all visual information comes at a cost...one really useful and free resource is the internet! 'Google Images' is a great place to get visual information that can cut and paste into your accessible resource. For those of you that need a bit of support with this, have a look at our video clip and step-by-step guide below;
Here is a video clip of Downloading Google images
Accessible Information across the Day...
At an individual level, one place to start is to think about information on day-to-day activities...how can you make this information more accessible?
One way of making day-to-day activities more accessible is to think about timetabling. As we know some people might be at an early stage of symbolic development and others may understand the written word.
To help you plan and design the right timetable have a look at the handouts below;
Guidelines for setting up and implementing a sensory timetable
Guidelines for setting up and implementing a visual timetable
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