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Symbols - overview and sources  This resource has been viewed by a moderator.

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Early years typical range:Any
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Pre/Nat. Curriculum Area:not specified
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Section:Early Years (0-5yrs) info; Primary (5-11yrs) info; Secondary (11-16yrs) info; Post School Education info; Adult info

Symbols, communication symbols or picture symbols, are a powerful and systematic support for communication.



Communication symbols are sets of images which represent words and concepts in a language in a consistent way. They are designed for use with people having difficulties accessing text and for those with communication difficulties.

They can be used with:

  • People who have difficulties accessing text through reading.
  • Picture exchange systems.
  • Communication books.
  • Communication boards.
  • High and low tech communication devices.
  • Creating visual timetables.

There is a variety of commercial and non-commercial software available.

You can obtain free symbols from:

  • Mulberry Symbols.
  • Arasaac - huge symbol sets in several languages including English; Download from Commtap; (this will be easier to use than the symbols downloaded from Arasaac as you shouldn't need to download any additional software to open them).
  • Open Symbols - search tool for symbols from a variety of sources - currently gives access to 57,000+ symbols.
  • Global Symbols - similar to Open Symbols.

Commercial sources of symbols/symbol software include:

  • Widgit (a range of software including Communicate: In Print, Widgit Online).
  • Boardmaker.
  • Crick Software (including Clicker).
  • PECS (Picture exchange communication resources).

Other sources of information:

Sources of free and commercial symbols

Commtap Symboliser for PowerPoint

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