This is for those students who can spell out words with the assistance of a partner. Print front and back on the long edge so that you and the communicator can both see the letters at the same time.
This 'keyboard' is set up a LOT differently from most. Traditionally, partner typing boards or scanning boards use the following configuration:
There's a slight problem with this. Though the alphabet format makes it easier to remember where the letters are, and they're onto something by making the vowels first, if you're cognitively capable of remembering where the letters are, this is much less efficient for spelling out words than it could be.
Letter frequency varies HIGHLY in English, and in any language. For instance, the letter k comes up very rarely in English, about 0.1% of the letters we use. Yet, because of its place in the alphabet, it's faster to access that letter than the letters r, s, or t, which each make up 6% or more of the letters that we use. This board, therefore, is organized by letter frequency. They're in order diagonally, because they're organized by how many letters you have to wade through to select that. (The grid for that is at the bottom, if you're interested.)
Moreover, we never, ever have a Q without a U behind it. So why do we make a user go through typing both, when we could just combine them?
In addition, there are a lot of highly used letter combinations in English. -re, -th, -ight, -nd, -tion, 'hat', and -ing are all very common, among others. So if we include them, then a user can type words like 'there', 'right', 'thing', 'what', etc, only having to type two letters rather than five.
Finally, in English we repeat letters very frequently. Why make a person go through the process of typing that letter (or number or punctuation, because why not?) all over again, if they don't have to? Instead, you can just check if they want to repeat their last entry. They still need the same number of buttons, but they don't have to wait through (and you don't have to list) a long list of letters just to repeat their same letter again.
This also works for scanning devices, too. It's basically adding maximum efficiency to scanning.
Hold the paper in front of you where the user can see and slowly read off the buttons on the yellow column, starting from top to bottom. (Except with the user's first entry, because naturally you can't back space or double any letters you haven't written yet. For the very first one, just start on "E" and read down.) Look for user to indicate when you reach the right row. Once they do, read every button in that row from left to right, starting with the yellow button on the row. Stop when they indicate you are on the right row. Write or remember the number, letter, or punctuation. If you feel you can, guess the word and ask if you’re right.
When the user says “end word/sentence” ask if they mean end word or end sentence. If end word, add space; if sentence, add period. When the user says delete, back space – ask if they want to delete the letter, word, or sentence. When they say list numbers, list numbers 0-9 verbally.
And that's it!
If something like this exists already, let me know, but if it does, I haven't found it!
Also, you can find information on letter frequencies here: https://www3.nd.edu/~busiforc/handouts/cryptography/Letter%20Frequencies.html
That's what I based my choices off of.
If you're interested, here's the number of buttons the user has to listen to before they reach what they want (or, from your perspective, how many buttons you have to read off before the person can reach what they want to choose) in the 6x7 grid. As you can see, it's pretty important to have efficiency in letter placement and choice, because if you don't, it's going to make an already long process take ages.
2 3 4 5 6 7
3 4 5 6 7 8
4 5 6 7 8 9
5 6 7 8 9 10
6 7 8 9 10 11
7 8 9 10 11 12
8 9 10 11 12 13