Tuesday, October 28, 2008

One of these things is not like the other, one of these things does not belong...

You know what drives me crazy? And what probably drives my students even more crazy? When device companies/device programmers mix symbol sets. Today one of my students needed to apologize to someone for something. Her communication partner was able to help her navigate to the page on her device where the "I'm sorry" message is, but the student would not activate it.

Why? Because it was the Dynasym for "sorry" (which she is not familiar with) not the Mayer-Johnson PCS for "sorry" (which she has used her entire life). I changed the symbol, she apologized and moved on, but the moment stayed with me all day.

The Gateway 5 board set for Dynavox and the InterAACt board set for Dynavox has pre-programmed boards that mix Dynasyms and PCS.

Why? Why would you do that to a kid who has spent a life time learning a certain set of symbols? Sure some kids/adults can generalize, but many others can't. So why set them up like that? Why would you create boards that were likely to make them fail?

Why not offer Gateway 5 and InterAACt with either all Dynasyms or all PCS and let the individual and his or her team choose which one to put on the device? Its not like there isn't a PCS for the words they use a Dynasym on vs. a PCS. One company owns both symbol sets, so it isn't copyright issues. I just don't get it. In the United States (and many, many other countries) the most universal symbol set is PCS by Mayer-Johnson, if its not broke, don't fix it.

How would you like it if suddenly one tenth to half of the words you went to read where in Greek or Korean?

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