Pillars of PODD

I want to share another tool I have added to my district’s AAC tool kit. It’s called the Pragmatically Organized Dynamic Display (PODD) – created by Gayle Porter. Disclaimer: I have not been formally trained in the PODD system. This is information I have learned through attending various conferences and reading through the PODD Manual.

I’m not going into too much detail about the PODD, but I will say it’s a light tech, multi-leveled, systematically organized communication tool. Check it out here: http://www.mayer-johnson.com/podd

Here are some of (what I like to call) the Pillars of PODD:

* Vocabulary is systematically organized. It is key for individuals using AAC to have access to vocabulary that is always in the same place. This promotes motor memory and saves cognitive resources so individuals can focus on generating their message. This goes back to increasing Operational Competence for users (refer back to my post on AAC Assessment and Janice Light’s Theory of Communicative Competence).

* This is the student’s voice. I first learned about the PODD system when Linda Burkhart spoke at the 2013 NCACA conference in Durham, NC. During a question and answer session, someone said something like, “You can print off one book for home, and one book for school.” Linda Burkhart responded with a resounding, “No.” We have to value this as the child’s one, true voice. It goes EVERYWHERE with the student. Check out the PODD manual for more information on methods of access.

* Aided Language Stimulation is KEY. We cannot expect a person to just pick up an AAC device and start generating messages. We need to input the system for that person (think about how we narrate the life of a baby). We have to ensure that each person develops Linguistic Competence for his/her device. If you screw up – that’s ok!!! You should model what to do when you mess up (oops!). You are building that skill of Strategic Competence!

* Implement the PODD within a natural communicative context. Linda Burkhart said, “What fires together, wires together.” So, make sure that individuals using AAC have opportunities to practice in real world environments. Interactions must be genuine and provide natural consequences. You’ve got to make sure communication is functional!

There are many, many more and this post is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all of the key points of PODD.

We started implementing the PODD with several students in my school district. I am excited to see how this rolls out and I’ll keep you posted.

Is anyone else out there using this system? How’s it going?

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