A communication book provides pages of symbols, usually organized by topic. Depending on the age, cognitive and physical abilities of the user, the page may have anything from one to many symbols on a page. The topics depend on the age, ability and interest of the AAC speaker. Communication books can allow a large number of vocabulary items to be stored in a relatively small space, but can be awkward to use. Communication books containing a large vocabulary need to be well structured and laid out if they are to be practical.
Communication books are generally developed through use and need. Sometimes unfamiliar vocabulary is deliberately included. The communication partner will then be able to model the use of this vocabulary, and the AAC speaker will learn the symbols by seeing them used in practice. Communication books usually develop to include pages of vocabulary related to: about me; people; feelings; clothes; food; drink; animals; colours; numbers; letters; hobbies and interests; curriculum-related vocabulary. Later, more topics are added such as weather, places, activities, or adjectives - and more words/symbols are added to each topic.
At some stage some of the topics may need to subdivided because there are too many items to manage on a page. Most books have an overall topic page at the front with links via numbers, colours, letters or tabs to the relevant topic pages. As books get larger and communication becomes fuller, some people have a pop-out section with commonly used words (core page) that can be accessed from any topic page. Other people organize each topic page so that it also contains commonly used words or phrases (core vocabulary) in that topic such as “I want” on the food page, and “I feel” on the feelings page.
It is important to have a section at the very front of the book which tells unfamiliar communication partners how to use the book with the communicator.
The following is a great resource to get started with a communication book: