One of the significant uses of any sensory room or studio, is to encourage and enable communication. So it surprises me that after 15 years of development of the sensory concepts, that there was no comprehensive range of symbols to enable people to express and build a language for the equipment, effects and experiences to be found within such an environment.
There are commonly used symbols for ‘the sensory room’ and for ‘bubble tubes’, and many people create their own photographic images for picture reference communication. However, there are no symbols for individual equipment. Mike Ayres has therefore created a range of symbols. They are by no means definitive, but they can be changed and built upon to suit your individual needs.
The symbols are created to be as basic but descriptive of the object as possible, and there are up to four main elements to each of the images, which are consistent throughout the range.
- The actual object is in bold lines of a clear shape.
- The action of the object is drawn in thin lines, ie. Rays of light, sound, vibration etc.
- The form of any projected image is identified with a shape and infill of thin parallel lines (this creates a half–tone, or grey effect for most people).
- The word that accompanies each symbol is printed in the “Sassoon” type face which was developed specifically for primary reading and writing skills and is recommended for use by people with Dyslexia.
Unless there are strong views to the contrary I will continue to build the range on this consistent principle. I have been asked if colour versions of the symbols are available; not at this time, but they may be developed in the future.
The symbols were presented to a number of communication specialists, speech and language therapists, and teachers for their comments. The responses varied from very detailed criticism about each aspect of individual symbols to a blanket acceptance and delight that at last there was something available. The one thing that was consistant was that almost every critique was inconsistent. I therefore sifted out some particularly relevant points and adjusted the images to accommodate these.
As stated earlier, they are not definitive in the actual images or the range so any constructive comments or suggestions for the additional symbols are very welcome.
They are an ongoing development, and they can be downloaded and used for free*.
*The symbols are the copyright of Mike Ayres, but are free for direct use for teaching, communication and sensory work. Commercial companies and other organisations must acquire the explicit written permission of Mike Ayres to use or reproduce the images in any form.