Alphabet Boards

Alphabet boards are low tech forms of AAC. The alphabet board is generally a square board with a grid of letters and numbers to which an individual points to communicate. The individual may point to the appropriate letter by gazing at it or through the use of a head pointer if available. Alternatively, the communication partner may point to letters on the board and the individual may somehow indicate that this is the desired letter. The process continues as words and phrases are spelled out. "Yes" and "No" options are also available on the grid.

An increasingly popular form of the alphabet board is a communication chart called EyeLink. EyeLink is a clear acrylic alphabet chart that both persons look through at each other. At the point on the chart where their eyes meet, that letter is communicated between the two.

When using alphabet boards, it is advisable to have paper and pen on hand in order to write down each letter and word as it is communicated and then repeat the entire phrase back.

Alphabet boards have obvious disadvantages in that they can be very time consuming and frustrating to use. They are, however substantially less expensive, more readily available and more versatile. Particularly in the case of physical examinations of patients, alphabet boards may be the only means of communication available. The person may not be able to access more high-tech forms of AAC such as the Pathfinder if not in his or her wheelchair.

For more information on Eyelink technolgy see the following link: http://www.cini.org/eyelink.html