Therapy Blog: Supporting communication with PODD



You may have heard of the term “PODD”. Perhaps from your child’s Speech Pathologist, online or from other parents of kids with complex communication needs. What exactly is PODD and how can it support your child’s communication?

What is PODD?

“PODD” is short for Pragmatic Organisation Dynamic Display. This term can seem confusing but broken down it means:

Pragmatic – the ways that we use language for everyday communication

Organisation – the way in which words and symbols are arranged

Dynamic Display – changing pages

It is usually a book or device that contains symbols and words to support communication. PODD is one type of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).

There are some great demonstrations of PODD in action on YouTube, like this video of PODD with partner assisted audio/visual scanning

Accessing PODD

Your child’s Speech Pathologist will work with you to determine the best way to make PODD accessible for your child. PODD can be set up for scanning, eye gaze and direct access (that is touch) in either paper or digital formats.

How to use PODD

Your child should be encouraged to use their PODD as much as possible. If we think of the PODD as being your child’s voice then we don’t ever want to take away their voice. Their PODD should go wherever they go and be used as much as possible in everyday activities.

Get excited!

Getting excited and enthusiastic when using the PODD will help your child to become excited too. This is similar to when a baby starts saying their first words and the adults around the baby will mimic back the words enthusiastically. Such a positive, excited and happy reaction can encourage the baby to repeat the words that they’ve learnt and continue exploring more and more words.

Don’t turn it into work

Remember that the PODD is a communication tool. Be careful not to turn it into “work” for your child, like completing a chore or doing their homework. The PODD should be used to communicate wants, needs and thoughts. Use the PODD for meaningful communication, let your child use the PODD to tell you about their day, or what they would like for dinner and so on.

Be patient

It will take time, repetition and integration into everyday life before your child becomes more confident with their PODD. Just like learning a new language it will take time to build understanding and vocabulary.