“From the Consistent and Unique Motor Patterns refer to how vocabulary words are programmed on the device allowing for fast, natural and fluent communication. Words on the speech generating device are learned by repeating the consistent motor movement rather than reading a word or interpreting a picture. This allows the individual using AAC to find words on his/her device as quickly and efficiently as a touch typist using a computer.”
How do we learn to do something for the first time? Have you ever taken piano lessons? Do you remember learning how to type on a keyboard? At first, we have to think through each step. It is a conscious process. Over time, we get used to doing something and it becomes natural. Most of us don’t remember learning how to walk. Or learning how to talk. We just do it.
Now imagine having to type on a different keyboard. What if someone took away the QWERTY layout and replaced it with an alphabetical keyboard. We know the alphabet, so typing should be easy. But it isn’t.
Motor planning is the process of repeating an action so often that it becomes natural. We all rely on motor plans to make daily life possible. We need AAC to be predictable too. Once the location of a word is learned, it needs to stay in the same place. It needs to remain predictable. This is how communication becomes faster and easier.
We want to take advantage of static icon placement. In other words, once an icon (picture) has a home on a speech-generating device, its placement should not change. Predictability is important for establishing motor planning for communication.
This can be especially important for someone who has a hard time getting their muscles to do what they want. Use consistent icon placement. You are giving that person the best chance possible to be successful with communication.
The following is a link to a podcast episode that describes motor planning for communication: