Co-designing health education materials


 Communication is an essential part of humanity. It is what connects us, helps us to understand each other’s thoughts and ideas, share information and build social relationships. The team at the Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (CAAC) in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Pretoria has been actively debunking the common myth that not being able to talk implies one has nothing to say.
We all need to be able to take care of our health. This means being able to get relevant information and educate ourselves about health issues, and being able to access relevant health services. For persons with severe communication disabilities, taking care of their health often proves challenging. Difficulties with understanding health information are experienced by many persons with communication disabilities and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation. One issue that we all have to deal with during this time is the need for easily accessible and reliable health information. For persons with disabilities, navigating this landscape can be exceedingly challenging. Health information is often couched in confusing and inaccessible language and provided in formats and modalities that do not support comprehension and retention. As a result, persons with communication disabilities may be under- or misinformed, with consequent detrimental effects on health outcomes.

The Centre for AAC, Future Africa and UNICEF  have jointly embarked on a project entitled “Co-designing health communication and education materials”. The health education materials were co - developed through extensive consultations and collaborations with various stakeholders including  youth with disabilities, caregivers of children and youth with communication disabilities and professionals who work in the health and education sector.  A variety of resources are available in the links below for down loading and use. Click on a topic and see the resources avaiable which may includecommunication boards, social stories and visual schedules next.

The project team

  • Prof Vasu Reddy
  • Prof Shakila Dada
  • Dr Kirsty Bastable
  • Dr Alecia Samuels
  • Prof Kerstin Tonsing
  • Ms Adele May
  • Ms Maureen Casey
  • Ms Constance Ntuli (disability advocate)
  • Youth with disabilities
  • Professionals
  • Caregivers
  • Ms Marguertue Steppe (symbol artist)



Communicating with individuals who have communication vulnerability

 Healthcare communication boards

How to use a communication board: Visual Schedules

Communicating about pain

Pain communication board

How to talk about pain visual schedule

How to talk about pain social story

  • English

Communicating about COVID-19

 What is Coronavirus

 Keeping your mental health up during lockdown social story

Going to the hospital communication board

 How to tell if information is real or fake news social story

  Going to the doctor visual schedule

 Washing hands visual schedule

 How to make your own hand sanitiser social story

 Washing hands social story​

Lockdown boards

General healthcare

What is CP? social story

  • Afrikaans
  • English
  • isiXhosa
  • isiZulu
  • seSotho sa-lebowa
  • seTswana

Having a medical procedure social story

Keeping myself healthy

  • English
  • seSotho sa-lebowa

Having  my blood drawn social story

Healthy eating

  • Afrikaans
  • English
  • isiXhosa
  • isiZulu
  • seSotho sa-lebowa

Having an x-ray social story


- Author Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Published by John Mahlangu

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