In this article we’ll cover the following topics to get you started with Proloquo2Go.
- Understanding core words
- Importance of modeling
- Setting up Proloquo2Go for your child
First, let us introduce ourselves. Barbara lives in the Netherlands and is a Speech Language Therapist who worked for many years in a Dutch special education school. Pam is a Senior member of our Support team who lives in Illinois and is also the mom of a Proloquo2Go adult user.
Pam: “I still remember when my son’s first device came. I held my breath as I was opening the box, my emotions flooding. I knew how important this new journey was going to be for him, for me and for our family.”
We understand that starting to use a communication device can be hard. “Where do I start?” “Am I making the right choices?” You are likely feeling anxious and maybe even overwhelmed.
Please know you aren’t alone. We’ve got your back. You can ask all your questions and we promise to do what we can to help.
1. Understanding core words
Proloquo2Go is based on core words. Core words are the small number of words that make up about 80% of what we say each day. These are powerful words because they can be used in a lot of contexts and allow us to express many ideas with a small number of words.
They are also the hardest words to learn, mostly because they are hard to explain in a single image. Core words includes words like “is,” “do,” and “have.” The remaining 20% are easy to explain with a picture and easier to learn. Examples are “cookie,” “dog,”, “McDonald’s" and other nouns. We call these fringe words.
When our children learn how to combine core words with fringe words, they will be able to communicate effectively for the rest of their lives. Core words are a powerful tool so your child can communicate whatever they want to say. Instead of using pre-programmed sentences or phrases like “I want” and “I see,” they can choose from a small set of words to create their own sentences.
Proloquo2Go is a robust balanced AAC system, which includes a vocabulary of all the words your child can use in individual buttons. Your child needs a full vocabulary, so they can communicate for many different reasons. Don’t worry, we will show you how to teach them to use all these words.
This AssistiveWare video introduces you to Proloquo2Go and shows you how to create a Proloquo2Go user and some of the features. You will also learn important information about AAC best practices and the vocabulary.
2. Importance of modeling
Modeling simply means that we use the communication device to talk with the AAC user.
All AAC learners need to see what it looks like to communicate using their AAC systems in real conversations. Typically-developing children learn language by hearing it spoken around them all day in real-life conversations. It can take years before they develop the ability to put together sentences. By modeling how to use Proloquo2Go (either on your child’s device or a paper-based copy), you are teaching them. Similarly to learning spoken language, it takes time to learn communicating with a device.
The goal is for your child to be able to say what they want to say, whenever they want to say it, wherever they want to say it and to whoever they want.
Check out this article and watch the video: Teaching with Core Words: Building Blocks for Communication and Curriculum.
You can also watch the video Aided language stimulation explained.
Remember: It can take months, even years of modeling before your child learns what all these symbols mean.
3. Setting up Proloquo2Go for your child
- Choose your grid size
We suggest a 7x11 grid size and it looks like this:
The amount of vocabulary shown may look overwhelming. It is a lot of buttons. Here’s why that’s important:
- Having more buttons per screen means the user has to navigate less. This makes it quicker and easier to find needed words. You can learn more here: Choosing a grid size.
- There is no evidence to support starting with only a few symbols/buttons. AAC systems for young children look like AAC systems for older children.
Tip: A good solution is to simply hide some of the words for now, and reveal them over time. You can use our Progressive Language feature to help you do this. As you reveal new buttons, the buttons the user has already learned do not move around. New words will be revealed in an order that follows how children develop the use of these words.
- Personalize vocabulary with fringe words
Fringe words are important because they are usually the people, places and things your child loves most. They are very motivating and the images are usually easy to recognize. Here is an article to help you personalize Proloquo2Go: Personalizing Proloquo2Go.
- Save a backup file
To make sure you do not lose any of your customizations, it is very important to make sure you always have a recent backup saved.
Proloquo2Go makes internal backups every day the app is in use. You can set Proloquo2Go to automatically save the most recent backup from each user to iCloud, Google Drive or Dropbox. It is worth taking a minute to manually save a backup every time you make major changes to be sure your customizations stay safe.
- Connect with others
If you are not already a member, we'd like to invite you to join our Facebook group. It's a warm and welcoming community where you will get helpful tips and share experiences with other families. It is a closed group, so every member must be approved. Here is the link: Family members AAC community Facebook group
- Where to go for answers and support
It’s a lot of information but you are well on your way now to building a strong foundation. There are more resources and support available to share. We are sure you will have more questions, and our AssistiveWare Support team is ready to answer them. Email our support team 7 days a week at firstname.lastname@example.org.