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What Are Core Boards?

Core board example


Core boards are a form of AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) and are used to assist individuals in various areas of language (requesting, commenting, declaring). These boards provide a set of essential words and phrases that are frequently used in communication, enabling individuals to express themselves effectively, make choices, and engage in conversations.

Core boards typically include a selection of high-frequency words and phrases with corresponding pictures, such as pronouns (I, you, he, she), verbs (e.g., want, go, like), prepositions (in, on, under), and other everyday items. Many core boards follow the same colour structure as Colourful Semantics (orange = people, yellow = actions/verbs, green = items/objects, blue = places). The boards can also include a ‘fringe vocabulary’, which are personalised and relevant to each individual user and/or activity. For example, Patient X’s fringe vocab may include ‘Mary’ (mum), ‘George’ (dad),’ ‘Lily’ (sister), ‘bubbles’ (favourite activity) and ‘ice cream’ (favourite treat). Whereas, a fringe vocab for the activity ‘Mr. Potato Head’ would include ‘arms’, ‘ears’, ‘red’, ‘hat’ etc. 


Core boards help a user develop their communication skills, rather than replace it. However, a user can only successfully develop these skills through modeling by parents, teachers and other caregivers. When introducing them, it is important they are easily accessible and encouraged in various contexts (play, bath time, at the park) so the user is participating in communication as much as possible. After all, it is their voice!


Core boards empower individuals to make choices, express their preferences, and participate in activities independently, as well as promote social interactions by allowing individuals to engage in conversations, share thoughts, and connect with others.

If you have any questions or would like some support in using core boards with your child, please get in touch and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. If you would like to try using one try AssistiveWare for some free downloads!

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020 3475 2189

London Speech Therapy
10 Harley Street
London, UK