Online images tackle child issues

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A national children's charity has developed an image vocabulary to enable disabled children to express their feelings and help protect them from abuse. 'How it is' is an image vocabulary which users can browse online. It was developed to help children communicate about a range of important issues.

There are widely recognised gaps in existing symbol vocabularies, which reflect the social position of disabled children and contribute to their increased vulnerability to abuse. For example, children may be able to communicate about the National Curriculum but cannot say ''leave me alone''. The images allow children to be negative, to assert themselves and to describe a range of incidents including painful things that may have happened to them.

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A Sussex-based consultancy developed the vocabulary, funded by the National Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC). There are 383 images available in the set, which can be browsed online, printed or downloaded. The CD is free, subject to availability. It is possible to purchase the set as a CD-ROM and booklet for

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