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My First Symbols: A support pack for early aided communication

  • Kate Holloway (The Holway Centre)

'My First Symbols' is a pack which includes information and resources to help support professionals working with families with children who have complex communication needs (CCN). It is meant as an aid for those who want to know what early steps can be taken to help children who are not developing speech. The pack was put together after a series of meetings and discussions among a variety of professionals who work in Somerset as well as parents. The aim was to provide ideas and suggestions for introducing symbols to young children that would be accessible and easy to use and help bring about some consistency across the county.


There were several meetings to look at appropriate vocabulary and symbol systems, and a basic literature search was conducted.


Two training sessions were undertaken with some very positive feedback. The ideas of how to introduce and use the core vocabulary, how to present the symbols and how to teach them in everyday situations have been found to be useful.


This document is helping give confidence to those working with young children with CNN, in developing a child's communication skills beyond choice making.

Level of Session 
Age Group 
Primary school
Special school