Whether in a classroom, work environment or on the net, symbols help build a genuinely inclusive environment by clarifying meaning and enhancing comprehension.
Teaching, writing, and communication with careful symbol support builds an inclusive environment that supports literacy for individuals with language or communication impairments, those that are new to a specific language (eg. English Language or French Language Learners) or who learn visually.
The Widgit symbols are a 40,000+ word vocabulary that has been used around the world to support written and verbal communication in schools, clinics, hospitals, prisons, courts and on the web. Widgit symbols have been used in Canada for education and health to support communication in English and French for more than a decade.
Explore our resources below to learn more about Widgit Communication tools and how symbols can be used in the class, at home, and in the community to give readers of all literacy levels greater access to information and increased communication.
Take a closer look at strategies and tips for symbolizing on our blog, and download some free symbolized resources too!
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More about Widgit Symbols
The ever-expanding Widgit Symbol Set has been developed over the past 25 years in partnership with communication and language experts and now contains more than 10,000 symbols, which cover a vocabulary of over 40,000 words.
The Widgit Symbol Set is designed specifically to support independence in reading, writing and communication. The simply drawn, colourful symbols each illustrate a single concept, in a clear and concise way, and cover a range of topics making them suitable for all ages and abilities.
The Widgit Symbols follow a schematic structure, meaning that there are ‘rules’ for the way in which they are formed.
Widgit's hundreds of curricular symbols are an important tool for learning science, geography and history and other new vocabulary.
Widgit's hundreds of health symbols are powerful way to aid communication in an emergency for anyone struggling to understand or make themselves understood:
individuals with an intellectual disability, who are non-verbal or just don't speak English.
Bridges has partnered with Widgit to add dozens of symbols relevant to the Canadian curriculum, particularly in the areas of Social Studies, history and geography. Together, Bridges and Widgit have teamed up to Canadianize the Widgit Symbols, making sure the images are relevant in a North American Context.
Bridges has also translated the Widgit Symbol library into French, which is now incorporated into Canadian Communicate: Symwriter 2.
In the Classroom and Beyond
Widgit Symbols are used all over the world, supporting 17 languages and giving readers of all literacy levels greater access to information and increasing communication.
Whether in a classroom, work environment or on the net, symbols help build a genuinely inclusive environment. Teaching, writing, and communication with careful symbol support builds an inclusive environment that supports literacy in ELL’s and students with language impairments.
Symbols can create inclusive environments not only in the classroom but anyplace where print information can be enhanced for broader communication:
- Supported living environments
- Companies marketing to segments where many do not speak English
- Work environments where many do not speak English
- Government agencies
- And much more
Bridges' Symbolizing Services
Bridges Symbolizing Services provide expert advice and consulting to support the development of custom symbol resources. We’ll assist in the development of document templates, symbol design, symbol resources, symbol signage and much more.
We can also provide for your communication experts the tools and training to continue your own symbol communication plan.
SymbolWorld is a website created by Widgit Software specifically for symbol users. It hasmaterial for all ages and includes news, personal contributions, stories and learning materials.
SymbolWorld is designed to be easy to navigate, with the option to personalise the layout and colours to suit any reader’s needs.
Whether in an emergency or during a routine procedure, a medical mis-communication can cause critical delays or potentially dangerous misunderstandings.
By pointing to the appropriate symbol the caregiver or responder can enhance, clarify or explain a question or explain what is going to happen-essential for reducing anxiety and improving health outcomes.
For the patient who cannot use verbal communication, they can describe, rate and pinpoint pain on a body diagram, explain other symptoms, communicate needs, wants, allergies and other warnings.
Being able to communicate is something many of us take for granted!
We Communicate to express feelings, thoughts and opinions, to ask questions and to give and receive information. However, if a person doesn't speak English, is non verbal, or is difficult to understand because of an injury or had a hearing problem; instruction can be misunderstood, anxiety increases, routine care can turn into a crisis.
Who can Benefit from Widgit Health?
- Any Organization that works with the public should have accessible communication materials for emergency situations.
- Any trained first aide or emergency worker.
- Organization that work with children or students who don't have the necessary vocabulary to explain their medical needs.
- Organizations that work with individuals who have a learning disability such as Autism, Down's Syndrome and Dyslexia. Symbols are an excellent communication information tool.
- Organizations that works with individuals who English is a second language and who may not be able to communicate fluently.
- If a person cannot hear or speak as a result of an accident.
- For people who are travelling to a foreign country.
- The elderly who are particularly vulnerable as they may depend more on medication and suffer injuries.
- Individuals who have suffered a stroke may find it easier to us symbols when communicating in an emergency situation.
First Aid Communication Booklet
This is a invaluable addition to any First Aid kit in any public place-Library, school, civic centre, theater museum etc. This Coomunication tool has the basics for calming an emergency situation and getting information vital for a 911 call or a first responder.
Booklet Contents Include:
- About Me
- Risk Management
- Body Diagram
- What's Happened
- Intake, Your Health
- What Happens Next
- Extras for Paramedics
First Response Communication Book
The First Response Communication Book is ideal for ambulances and other first response units. With a large page and a variety of sections, this well researched tool allow first responders to ask questions and understand responses from people whom communication is difficult. Laid out on easy-to-follow progression, this booklet covers a range of topics, including drug use, security of the home/building, important medical conditions and more.
Printed on durable paper, this communication booklet can be cleaned with disinfectant. The First Response Communication Booklet were recent;y ordered by the British Red Cross to go in all of it's ambulances.
The Layout of the book mirrors how medical situations normally progress from first contact through diagnosis and initial treatment. The core sections of the book follow the medical assessment. In addition, the back of the booklet provides easy access to a pain scale and core responses that may be used at any time. For example, the response 'Yes' or 'No'.
Who is this for?
The first Response Booklet is for any medical professional who may be first on the scene during a medical emergency. For Example:
- Ambulance crews
- Community First Responders
- Police Officers
Communication clearly before or during medical visitor procedure can be essential for reducing stress and ensuring success. The First Response Communication Booklet is an invaluable tool for anyone who needs regular medical care and has communication or comprehension challenges: individual on the autism spectrum, with Down's Syndrome and Brain injuries etc.
Quantity Pricing is available. Contact Bridges for more information.
Patient Communication Sheet
Every bedside in every hospital, clinic, school or care home needs a Patient Communication Sheet. With the symbols on this two-sided sheet, almost anyone can quickly and efficiently communicate needs, wants, level of pain and other key information simply by pointing.
Years of research and in-hospital trials resulted in this easy-to-understand layout. Printed on durable paper, this communication tool can be cleaned with disinfectant and even put through a dishwasher.
This sheet is designed with symbols so that patients of all languages and reading abilities can communicate without the spoken word. The sheet features all the major requests (food, drink, television, medication etc.) and replies along with a pain scale and body diagram.
How often do these situations arise in a hospital:
- An elderly individual who has relied on translation provided by family members or functioning in his/her language community now has to spend several days in hospital. A family member can come to the bedside during the day but what happens at night?
- An accident or stroke renders that requires a hospital stay renders someone temporarily non-verbal.
- An individual on the autism spectrum or with cognitive challenge who is non-verbal has to come to hospital and stay overnight for tests.
Increased communication means reduced anxiety and frustration of patients, caregivers, medical staff and family members.
Printed on durable plastic paper the Patient Communication sheet is waterproof and tear proof and can be disinfected with alcohol, hand-sanitizer and even safely run through a dishwasher.
The Patient Communication Sheet is backed by years of experience in a variety of hospital and long term care settings.
The Patient Communication Sheet is ideal for:
- Long term care and rehab facilities
- Elder and Nursing Care homes
- Hospital bedsides
The sheet is available in bundles of 10 or as a license for private label printing at your site.
In Case of Emergency (ICE) Card
Paramedics and other first responders are trained to look for important information in a wallet.
On the the Widgit In Case of Emergency Card (ICE) you can write all necessary health personal contact information, but it folds flat and thin to fit in most wallets. On the reverse is a diagram for quick essential non-verbal communication. Ideal for individuals with communication challenges.
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Brian Injury
- English Language learners
- Down's Syndrome
- Developmental Delays
- and/ or dementia
- and more
The ICE Card uses Widgit's carefully constructed symbols developed with over twenty years of research and close consultation with medical care experts.The card can be private labeled. Quantity discounts are available.
Contact Bridges for details.