Sunday, July 29, 2012

Should Symbols be Free?

This is an interesting question. Why should people who use symbols have to pay to speak? If you need Braille or enlarged text, this is available for free or at the same cost as the print version. This is exactly how it should be. This ties easily into the post on Equality Without Words. Why do people who use picture symbols have to pay for them? The software regardless of the symbol set used is not cheap and is always being updated (this is positive but an additional expense). When you learn a new word do you have to pay money to access it? This sounds ridiculous but it is exactly what symbol users must do.  This becomes an issue of social justice. Schools, families and individuals often struggle to pay for the software (as well as the advanced AAC devices - although insurance has made a significant difference in this area). There are very strict copyright rules when using symbols. My question is, how can we do this better? How can symbols be made more accessible in terms of cost, access and usage across all settings? There has to be a way to work on this together.


  1. Facebook was developed by an everyday joe-shoe.. Why can't a set of symbols be developed by the BSU special education department. On the special education grape vine news travels fast! What an awesome project to be involved in and get your name out there attached to such a NEEDED point of access!

  2. I agree that the students and faculty could do this. It would make for an incredible community service project that would serve many people. It should be a public bank where people can add to it. No one should have to pay to speak.

  3. A public bank of symbols, in which people could add ones they think belong would be amazing. After all the ones who know best which symbols work are those who use them. I think it is unfair of the companies who created these symbols that they charge for them, they are making money on the product and the software, let everyone gt at the ymbols!

  4. Making sure people with disabilities are included in this process is critical. We are looking at starting a Free Symbols Project. I hope you are willing to participate!

  5. Yes, yes, a million times yes! There no reason nonspeaking people (or their families) should have to pay for the ability to speak. It is a right that everyone has at birth; it should not cost extra for some people. I love the idea of BSU students being a driving force in making a symbol set bank, which can be added to as needed.

    1. All this is very possible. Someone already has made a lot of headway in this. I posted the link under the free symbols project. It is an amazing collection of free symbols and software. Take a look and share it with everyone!