PODD. PODD or Pragmatic Organization Dynamic Display is a both a method of communication/method of teaching communication and a set of manual communication books. PODD was created by Gayle Porter in Australia. PODD materials are arranged especially to be used for social interactions (pragmatically). Messages in the PODD flow from one page to the next by way of page numbers that guide the user through a conversation. So a conversation can move easily through conversational turns.
Wow! First of all if you ever get the chance to attend a workshop Linda Burkhart presents you should go. Second of all it is seeing videos of PODD in action that really "sells" it for use with our students. The first thing I did when I came home from the conference was apologize to our SLP. The second thing was to lay out a plan to introduce PODD into my classroom. PODD really is everything that people who use it rave about, but it can be hard to tell that from reading descriptions and looking at pictures. If you really want to see what PODD is about you should start by going to YouTube or a similar video site and watch videos of PODD in action.
PODDs are intended to be as much for receptive communication as they are for expressive communication. Communication partners of individuals using a PODD also use the PODD to communicate. Modeling or Aided Language Stimulation happens constantly as both communication partners use the PODD. For the first it pretty much only adults used the book. Eventually our student started to internalize the way PODD worked and communicate with us using it.
The only way to purchase PODD right now, in the USA, is from Mayer-Johnson as a Boardmaker Add-on. It costs $325 (in addition to the cost of Boardmaker if you don't already have it). You will have to customize, print and bind the PODD books yourself. The PODD boards that are available for purchase are designed for direct selection. It is possible to customize these yourself for visual, auditory or multi-sensory scanning or other means of access. Gayle Porter, Linda Burkhart and others are working on creating alternative access PODD materials to sell.
PODD can also be a great bridge to high tech dynamic display communication. In our school we have modified it on a Tobii C-eye for a student who communicates through eye gaze and on Proloquo2Go on an iPad for use with direct selection. (I am waiting with baited breath for Proloquo2Go to add two switch scanning so the student described above can user his iPad to talk!) Currently using PODD on a high tech device means doing all the programming yourself, but it is worth it. I have chatted with a few high tech AAC vendors about PODD being available as a vocabulary set, but currently none of the vendors has plans to do so (at least that they were willing to share with the likes of me!).
You can read more about PODD from Linda Burkhart's website and handouts. She also has a great hand out about using PODD with Partner Assisted Scanning, the hand out is meant for working with those who have Rett Syndrome, but applies to most, if not all, situations in which you would use partner assisted scanning. Novita also has a great website about PODD.
As you begin or continue to use PODD I think these tips from The Tasmania School of Special Education are important to remember: