Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Picture Communication for Pagan Kids

Those of you who have been reading here for any amount of time know that my 4 1/2 year old, Acorn, is diagnosed as non-verbal (he says a handful of words only) due to a complicated medical history. While we all think he will eventually talk, we are working on ways for him to communicate right now, because he has a lot to say, and we'd like him to be successful in kindergarten next year.

One of the ways we're doing this is with an electronic communication device - a device with a synthesized voice and buttons to touch for each word that you want to say (sort of like the device used by physicist Stephen Hawking, but more updated, and more appropriate for a child to use).

His device comes pre-loaded with some basic vocabulary, and it's expected that we'll add words related to things he does every day and things he'd like to talk about. There are several thousand words available to us already using a picture symbol set called PCS (picture communication symbols) developed by a company called Mayer-Johnson, but we can also add our own pictures for things that they don't cover.

As you can probably guess, there are lots of symbols in this set for Christians (I've seen church, Jesus, nativity, and more).  There are menorahs and a symbol for Hanukkah. There are symbols for dozens of holidays. But no Pagan ones of any sort.

While I could print out lots of different pictures from the internet, we'd really like to keep the images we're using on Alex's device similar in style to the existing images to minimize confusion...and to minimize drama with the school, who also gets access to add, change, and delete things on the device. get to the point. I'm looking for 2 things:

1. an artist or two who can mimic the style of the PCS images, such as the ones found at - while I'd love someone who would volunteer, I know that's not very realistic, so I'm willing to negotiate payment for the initial images that we'd like for our own use. If I end up paying someone on my own, I will make the images available for a small fee for others to use. If we can crowd fund or find volunteers, I will make images available for free for others.

2. others who are interested in developing a word & picture list. Our family is nominally Wiccan, so that's where I'm starting on words we'll eventually need, but I'd like to be able to introduce other Pagan faiths & key concepts as well.

Interested? I've started a community on Google to discuss vocabulary and strategies.

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