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Teaching With Core Words: Building blocks for communication and curriculum

Practice Report
  • Jennifer Marden (AssistiveWare)
Funding / Sponsorship: 
The presenter is an employee of AssistiveWare, makers of Proloquo2Go, which has a core word-based vocabulary. Examples from Proloquo2Go may be shown, but will be balanced with examples from other Core Word AAC solutions. The goal of the paper is not to recommend a particular core word system, but to share techniques for teaching the use of core words.

Core word AAC systems are designed based on research which shows that a relatively small number words make up most of what we say. There are many different core word-based AAC systems. While these systems differ in the ways the core words are organized and accessed, they have at their 'core' a common philosophy that if a person is given quick access to the words he will need most often, his communication will be more efficient, flexible, and effective. This session presents an overview of research on core words for AAC system design, as well as the resources available on teaching the use of core words for communication and curriculuum.


Informal review of core word research and compilation of resources available for implementing core word AAC systems with a variety of individuals.


Teaching techniques which be used for any AAC system that is designed based on core words.


Core Word is a widely used AAC design strategy that can facilitate production of spontaneous novel utterances in a wide range of persons who use AAC. Because many of the core words are not 'picturable' nouns, teaching techniques specifically designed for these more abstract words are helpful.

Level of Session 
Age Group 
All Ages
Primary school
Secondary school
Special school