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What They Are

The flipbook’s versatility makes it a small but mighty expressive communication strategy. It may be designed for the student – as a way to choose vocabulary; or for the communication partner – as a guide for presenting choices. It may be used as a stand-alone tool or in conjunction with other low-tech or high-tech strategies. These small books may be purchased from Mayer Johnson (Flip ‘n Talk) or created from available photo albums, notebooks, or materials bound at a local copy center.

Again, this strategy, if a match for a student’s needs, skills and existing strategies, can further expand a multi-modal communication system.

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What They're Not

Limited to use as a vocabulary set for direct selectors.

Low-tech tools are not always just for the student! They can be great tools for communication partners. Flipbooks can provide guidance for new partners and create consistency among familiar partners by outlining a series of prompts and/or choices.

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How They Work

For the student:

Vocabulary is arranged by categories, which are indicated on the tabs. The size makes it highly portable and easy to access in a variety of environments.

For the communication partner:

The front cover can serve as a quick instruction manual for how to use the book. It may say something like, “I have something to say. To find out what it is, follow this book to ask me questions. Ask me every choice on a page in case I want to choose more than one thing. Start with the ‘Main’ page.” Each page has a series of options to present to the student. The individual squares may also indicate which page to turn to next if selected.

As a stand-alone tool:

When used as a stand-alone tool, the flipbook may present choices of general vocabulary for conversation and social closeness. It may also help identify specific concerns of a student who is becoming frustrated or upset and who may be unable to access other systems due to increased emotional stress and/or muscle tone.

In conjunction with other systems:

When used with another communication board or high-tech device, the flipbook can provide fringe vocabulary to augment the other system. For instance, the student may use a main communication board or speech generating device to provide core vocabulary or starter phrases (e.g., “I want,” “go,” “who”) which then correspond to a set of choices in the flipbook (e.g., “snack, ball, rest, music”; “outside, visit a friend, please go away”; “teachers (with a list of names), friends (with a list of names), family (with a list of names)”). This provides more content without demanding further navigation of a larger board set or of the speech-generating device.

Elle uses her flipbook to tell her teacher what to tell mom at the end of the day. She visually scans her options and uses her voice to indicate and confirm her choices.

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