Discovering each child's lifelong potential

Commonly Used Terminology

The Mary Cariola Children’s Center Communication Department has designed this reference for use by staff when completing behavior programs, clinical notes, and classroom-based programming. These terms and their definitions should assist you in describing each child’s individual communication strengths and needs and how these systems are used to expand and enhance each child’s programming here at school.

Visual system — any object, photo, pic sym, graphic, or sight word system used by the student to assist him/her in independently completing a given task.
Ex: work system, schedule, reinforcement system, task board, checklists, TEACCH systems, etc.

Cueing system — any visual, auditory, and/or tactile representation of a concept or an activity. Any system that a child uses to anticipate his/her daily activities or to redirect the student to that activity.
Ex: object cue boxes, photo ring, folder, schedule, first/then board, pic sym ring, dayboard, etc.

Communication system — communication modes and acts (e.g., intentional, nonintentional, high-tech, low-tech, gestural, spoken, or written) that convey meaning.
Ex: verbal, eye gaze, gesture, sign, photo, printed word, object, Braille, etc.

Augmentative or alternative communication — all forms of communication that enhance or supplement speech.
Ex: communication boards, manual gestures or signs, voice output services, computers, etc.

Assistive technology — includes devices and services. An AT device is any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially or off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.

Hierarchy of systems — olfactory, object, photo, pic sym, spoken/written word.
Remember to include the size, mode, method, schedule of use, level of accuracy, rationale for use, etc.

Total communication
— the philosophy of utilizing any or all communication methods (finger-spelling, sign, speech, reading, pictures, oral, written) to enhance receptive and expressive communication.


Quick Facts

Mary Cariola Children’s Center is a special place in Rochester, NY, that serves children and youth with multiple, complex disabilities; public and private schools aren’t able to accommodate these children. Here are some facts at a glance.