Cologne Communication Boards and Binder

(Kölner Kommunikationstafeln und Kommunikationsordner)

The Cologne Communication boards and binder are the result of the application of research results on the language use. The first and foremost goal with the Cologne Communication Boards and Binder is to support the language development of the AAC user. To help the AAC user become a better communicator is important for social and educational reasons.

This support is provided by some features of the materials like visible and accessible core vocabulary with the option to mark focus words, simple combination possibilities of core and fringe words, the use of the Montessori color codes to be able to combine grammar lessons with AAC intervention or the option to use some morphology like past tense.


Background Information

The selection of the core vocabulary provided on the Cologne Communication Boards and Binder is based on research data from a range of studies lead by Prof. Jens Boenisch. He collected and analyzed speech samples of German speaking preschool and school children as well as adolescents with and without disabilities.


Basic Idea

The basic idea with the communication boards and binder from Cologne is to provide a set of communication aids that make the combination of core and fringe vocabulary as easy as possible.
The materials differ in complexity but all have the same structure and similar positions of the words. In this way a very similar motor plan is used on a communication board with just 40 words or on the Cologne Communication Binder with approx. 450 words.


The different materials with a growing vocabulary (Symbols (C) Metacom)


A4/letter board with 40 words Boards with 40 words

This is a suggestion for a vocabulary below the 50 words stage. It provides slightly larger symbols than the A3 board. Some SLPs enlarge this board to provide even bigger symbols and to decrease access demands.

A3 board with 40 words and 100 empty buttons

If the intervention aims at the 140 board but it is too complex to begin with, this board gives the option to start with 40 words. This way, the position of the acquired words remain the same even as the vocabulary expands and new vocabulary is added to the board.

A3 board with 140 words board with 140 words

The core vocabulary on this board is selected based on research data; the yellow marked fringe vocabulary is a suggestion for some words and labels that some children learn early in their language development. With the use of velcro additional topic boards can be provided for different activities.



Wallpaper with 140 buttons for modeling in group situations Wallpaper velcro

The wallpaper can be used in a picture frame with velcro dots on top and additional symbol cards. This way the student can manually buildsentences and still use all words. We decided not to offer topic words here after we saw that some children, especially in the beginning just pointed to the cat, the dog etc. and just wanted to label these "picture producers". Because it is our aim to show how to combine words, we provide an empty space in the middle. You can put sentence strips here or topic vocabulary for any activity.


Communication binder with approx. 450 words  CCBinder

The communication binder is the most complex low-tech suggestion for the combination of core and fringe vocabulary in the materials from Cologne. While the vocabulary in the frame around the topic pages is mostly research based core vocabulary, the topic pages provide just some examples.