Frequently Asked Questions

Q: WHY NOT USE PICTURES?
A: The ability to use any symbolic representation - object-symbols, photographs, pictures or written words - is determined by cognitive skills (i.e. IQ) and to a lesser extent life experiences. In normal language development early communicators express their basic desires using actual items first (when holding a Graham Cracker, they know they get a Graham Cracker). Next, they develop an understanding of concrete representation: when they see the Graham Cracker box in mom's hand they know a Graham Cracker snack is coming. It isn't until much later that more abstract representations of Graham Crackers - line drawings or a photograph of a Graham Cracker - will be recognized and useful.

Individuals with cognitive impairments or dual sensory impairment also require more of 'the real thing' (or very close to it) to make sense of the things. They are less able to make sense of more abstract, one dimensional visual-only information - photographs, line drawings, writing - and need more concrete representations, which is why Object-Symbol Resource was founded.

Q: CAN I JUST USE THE REAL ITEM?
A: Yes you can. However, having the real item available typically requires you to be in the environment of the activity which is often difficult. More importantly, it limits your communicator because if the item they want is not immediately available to them they will be unable to communicate about that item or activity. Object-symbols for this level of communicator will offer many of the same attributes of the actual activity: sight, touch and sometime sound, to build understanding while providing vocabulary that can be used at any time and in any place.

Q: WHY NOT USE MY OWN OBJECTS, THINGS I CAN FIND AROUND MY HOUSE?
A: That's an option. However, what Object-Symbol Resource offers are professionally chosen symbols. We've had years of experience selecting, testing and evaluating the items we sell; we've seen them work! The fact is too, that many folks don't have the time to shop, compare and purchase all the symbols you need so we've done that for you. Object-Symbol Resource was establishing on the principal that if we provided parents, teachers and Speech-Language Pathologists an easy means of establishing an object-symbol vocabulary more pre symbolic communicators will be communicating - that's our mission and our dream!

We also do everything we can to keep the same Object-Symbols available long term, so your communicator's vocabulary now will be the same vocabulary next year and for years to come- which is difficult to say about those items you collect on your own.

Q: IF HE UNDERSTANDS EVERYTHING I SAY TO HIM, WHY DOES HE NEED A COMMUNICATION SYSTEM?
A: Understanding someone ('hearing') and being able to tell someone ('saying') what you want are two different things. Without an expressive vocabulary your emerging communicator must rely on you to offer items and activities he may want, which limits his choices, his independence, and his potential.

Q: WHY DOESN'T OBJECT-SYMBOL RESOURCE SELL MINIATURES?
A: A miniature representation of an item or activity shares very few attributes of the real item and in many cases is more abstract than a photograph or even line drawing. Object-Symbol Resource is dedicated to providing functional, meaningful object-symbols that can be used with individuals that require more concrete information to truly be successful.