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What is PODD?

PODD, which stands for Pragmatic Organisation Dynamic Display, is a comprehensive and complete communication system for individuals who cannot meet all of their communication needs with speech alone. 


PODD is a robust language organisation for personal communication systems. It is available for both non-electronic (paper) communication books and electronic speech generating devices e.g. apps for iPad and software for dedicated AAC devices. The aim is to provide individuals with multiple options to communicate their own messages in all situations with a range of people.


How language is organised is a critical component in providing an individual with access to a robust vocabulary they require to communicate their present needs and to stimulate further development of their communication and language skills. 


The way vocabulary is organised in PODD is influenced by the pragmatics of communication.  Pragmatics is how we use language to communicate for different purposes; how interaction and conversation occurs and is interpreted in different social interactions and contexts.  


PODD has been designed to support motor automaticity. That is, users of PODD can automatically find vocabulary due to the consistent placement, and availability of vocabulary throughout the system. This assists with language learning and initiation. 


PODD incorporates the use of core vocabulary with content (fringe) vocabulary organised according to communication function and conversational requirements. 


It’s a system designed to allow users to communicate their own self-initiated and generated ideas and thoughts. 

What is PODD?

The development of PODD

The PODD system created by co-founder of CPEC and Speech Pathologist, Gayle Porter, has been informed by more than 30 years of clinical practice and through a collaborative community process.  It was developed in response to ongoing feedback from hundreds of AAC users and their communication partners through real use everywhere, at home, school and in the community, and in response to real need.   

The development of PODD

The Challenge

“a child who uses speech will independently select the words she wishes to use from the vast array of words she hears/sees used every day. A child who uses AAC will independently select the words she wishes to use from the vocabulary other people have chosen to model and, for aided symbols, made available for her to use.”

(Porter & Kirkland, 1995, p. 93-94)

The first PODDs

The first PODDs were developed in the early 1990s in response to this challenge. Gayle and her colleagues Jan Kirkland and Louise Dunne had for many years tried different AAC strategies and systems with children, teenagers, adults and their families. These previous strategies only allowed people to communicate from the words that had been selected for them. A communication system was needed that would enable people to communicate at any time for genuine communication. A system was needed that would enable communication partners to provide receptive input therefore providing AAC users with a model of language they could also use to communicate their own ideas and messages.

Gayle, Jan and Louise began encouraging the families and professionals they worked with to use activity displays and multi-level communication books to provide aided language stimulation (Goosens’, Crain & Elder, 1992).  


PODD communication books and page sets for speech generating devices subsequently evolved as a result of problem-solving the design features which enabled more effective use of these dynamic displays with children who have complex communication needs and their families.

The continued development of PODD

Gayle has continued to develop PODD since the release of the Direct Access template resources in 2007 with input from the many children of all ages, adults and their families she works with.


This has seen PODD evolve to enable users with varying physical, cognitive, visual, hearing and sensory needs access language to communicate autonomously. PODD continues to evolve and grow to meet the varying needs of users of AAC. 

Longitudinal case studies showing the communication and language development of children 1-2yrs of age through to their adult years reflect this collaboration.

Who is PODD for?

Who is PODD for?

The PODD system is able to meet the needs of an individual at any stage of language development and with a range of abilities.  PODD is available in a range of layouts to suit different movement, vision and language abilities.  PODD communication books and vocabularies for electronic devices are available for a range of language levels from first words through to complex (adult) language.


This means PODD can support the needs of individuals with various physical, cognitive, visual, hearing and sensory challenges.  PODD is used by individuals with a range of diagnoses including cerebral palsy, autism, and various syndromes.


Individuals with complex communication needs who require support visually to understand spoken language also benefit from the use of the PODD organisation.  This may include individuals with severe hearing loss or other challenges processing language presented by sound.


A range of PODD alternative visual / auditory presentation templates to support individuals with varying degrees of visual challenges access language to communicate autonomously is currently in development.


PODD templates for communication books

There is a wide range of PODD communication book templates to suit different selection methods, presentation and varying communication and language requirements. These are commercially available in separate PODD template resources:

  • Direct Access Templates (PCS symbol set; for customisation in Boardmaker 6)

  • Alternative Access Templates (PCS symbol set; for customisation in Boardmaker 6)

  • simPODD Direct Access Templates (SymbolStix symbol set; available in the simPODD app)

  • Mind Express Direct Access Templates (PCS symbol set; available in the Mind Express app)


The Alternative Visual/Auditory Presentation Templates resource is currently in development.

PODD templates

Information included on each of these PODD communication book template resources includes:

A printable manual in PDF format

Boardmaker files in template folders for every communication book

Information files for each communication book

Construction files for each communication book

Vocabulary Ideas Document

Selecting and customising a PODD template to suit individual requirements file

To download the free printable manual from the Alternative Access Templates Resource, click here.


Manual only Templates not included..png
PODD Direct Access Template Booklet Cover

Direct Access Templates

The Direct Access resource, released in 2007, includes PODD communication books designed for individuals who are able to direct point with a whole hand, finger or tool. Some of the templates can also be modified to accommodate pick up/give show.  This resource, presented on 3 CDs, includes templates to make 12 different Direct Access PODD communication books and 2 group books. 

Versions: A4 paper version, US Letter paper version

Language: English (Aust)

CD 1

1 page opening book templates

  • 9 per page early functions

  • 9 per page expanded functions

  • 12 per page early functions

  • 12 per page expanded functions

  • 16 per page expanded functions

  • 20 per page expanded functions

  • Group book – early functions

  • Group book – expanded functions

CD 2

2 page opening book templates

  • 40 key word

  • 70 expanded key word

  • 100 plus complex syntax

CD 3

2 page opening with side panel book templates

  • 36 key word

  • 40 expanded key word

  • 90 plus complex syntax

Alternative Access Templates

The Alternative Access PODD communication books resource, released in 2017, is designed for individuals who:

  • have physical challenges directly pointing to sufficient symbols to meet their communication and language requirements

  • can see the picture symbols and manage the visual complexity of a whole page to locate the symbol they require.


This resource, presented on USB, includes templates to make 22 different Alternative Access PODD communication books.   

Versions: A4 paper version

Language: English (Aust)

Alternative Access Template.jpg

PODD communication book alternative access templates are included for individuals who use:

  • eye gaze

  • partner assisted visual scanning (PAVS)

  • eye gaze to a section plus partner assisted visual scanning combination

  • direct pointing to a section plus partner assisted visual scanning combination

  • coded access


The Alternative Access template resource also includes videos demonstrating the operational procedures to use and model each access method. 


More PODD templates

PODD templates for speech generating devices are also commercially available. PODD page sets for speech generating devices are NOT identical to the corresponding communication book to account for the operational differences between an electronic device and non-electronic (paper based) book. The concepts and strategies of the PODD approach can be applied to both non-electronic systems (communication books) and electronic speech generating devices (apps for iPad and AAC devices). 


PODD templates for speech generating devices are available on the following apps:

simPODD app icon


TD Snap app icon

TD Snap

Mind Express Logo

Mind Express

Zyteq is the Australian supplier of Grid 3 and Mind Express. Link Assistive is the Australian supplier of Grid 3 and TD Snap.

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Workshops

CPEC is proud to advertise PODD Workshops Australia wide.

CPEC PODD Workshops are available here.

Bookmark this page for regular updates.

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