Our aim was to support students to communicate about sensitive, personal matters, e.g. relationships, adulthood and safeguarding. Imagine not having the words to be able to discuss these topics.
The speech and language therapist and teacher collaborated as part of the 'Sex and Relationship Education' lessons to resolve this issue. The students wanted to create an AAC resource they could use for this purpose. The private words book was developed by students in the 16+ department at Chailey Heritage School. Many students already had a comprehensive AAC system, either a communication book or a VOCA; however, they wanted this as an additional resource.
All the students decided the book would be a useful tool for AAC users – and for verbal students who may need a prompt when talking about personal matters. The students identified they wanted the book to contain vocabulary relating to personal matters including sex, relationships, alcohol, drugs and safeguarding as well as being a central resource for contacts.
This private words book reinforces the right that people have to talk about very private and personal matters. In the process, our students felt proud of the book they created and were empowered to be able to speak out.