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Manual Signs for Universal Core

Using Graphic Symbols of Manual Signs for Universal Core

For students with typical hearing who use AAC, they receive two types of language input when we demonstrate comments. First, they see the symbol when we point to them, and then they hear the word or words that make up our comment. This double input helps them make sense of the symbols and words we use. However, for students who are deaf, they do not have the same level of access to spoken input. Students who are deaf can see the symbols we are pointing to, but they may not be able to hear or understand the words we are saying. Therefore, some students who are deaf have less information to try and make sense of our comments and communication symbols.

We are exploring the use of graphic symbols that depict manual signs to represent the Universal Core vocabulary from Project Core ( for a few students at our sites that do not have full access to spoken language and do not use sign language to communicate expressively.

We suggest the following for students who are unable to hear spoken language and do not use sign language to communicate expressively:

  1. First, get the students’ attention before making a comment.
  2. Then, point to the symbol on the Universal Core manual sign board and then demonstrate the sign.

This combination of a graphic symbol followed by the sign may help students who are deaf more easily understand the language input. We would encourage teachers to use this combination of input across school day so that students can have as many opportunities as possible to try and make sense of and use the communication board. 

Universal Core Manual Sign Board

All Manual Signs for Universal Core

List of Individual Manual Signs for Universal Core

Permission to use all images, descriptions and resources for ASL signs from and granted by Dr. Bill Vicars

Permission to use description and images of SEE signs from granted by Eileen and Esther Jennings