portacom – the history

who are we


The Portacom System is used to help people with Autism, Autism Spectrum and related developmental disabilities. It is a communication support system for those using Augmentative and Alternative Communications  (A.A.C.)  In special education and communication. People with Asperger's syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome (F.A.S.) and other cognitive disabilities and language disorders using picture communication find this invaluable.  Whether using Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), in special education, speech & language pathology  or early intervention programs. In Applied Behavior Analysis or ABA Therapy, or IBI (Intensive Behavior Intervention) for people who have Autism or other developmental disabilities, the Portacom System can help in their support. Any non verbal communication with people with Autism, developmental disabilities and special education can benefit from this.

how we got here

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) opened our eyes to a world of communication…but how could we make it portable without spending thousands of dollars on high-tech equipment.

We also didn’t want to be carrying cardboard, with Velcro glued to it around in our daily lives. Anyone requiring AAC for a lifetime, needs practical solutions to manage the growing library of AAC symbols.

The Portacom System is a product line designed to take your AAC with you as you live your life at home, in school or out into the community.

As you explore the Portacom System web site you will encounter products tested by children and adults, made from high quality, fully washable, water resistant fabrics.

You will find a wealth of ideas for visual supports that worked for families around the world in supporting non verbal people to understand the world around them and encourage them to begin to communicate choices and improve behaviour with the provided schedules and visual instruction to introduce new activities. Building these bridges opens up our world to them.

the story

The Story of the Portacom System

Made by Mom Creations was started by a mother desperate to communicate with her very special twin daughters, then age 6. Kelti and Haley had been diagnosed Deaf at the age of one and in spite of constant exposure to sign language they were struggling to understand and communicate. In 1995 the family began to receive support services from CBI Consultants based in Port Moody, B.C. Canada. Once a full behavior assessment had been done their mother Shannon began to implement the support strategies recommended. This began with scheduling each activity in the daily routine, giving the girls as many positive choices as they could handle so they were a part of the day's plan. These choices gave Kelti and Haley a sense of control over their lives they had never felt while using symbols combined with sign language and English made it possible to expand their communication at all levels. Looking for a more independent way for the girls to use the symbols to communicate, Shannon developed a portable waist pack system to hold symbols and schedules for each of them so they could access it anytime when transitioning from once activity to another. Naming this the "Portacom System", Shannon began using the products at home and trained the support staff at the school in their use so everyone was able to help both girls communicate and bridge this to better Sign Language and English skills. For a more in depth account of this Mom's experience you can read the complete assessment story in "Families for Positive Behavior Support" Addressing Problem Behavior in Family Contexts, Chapter 8, "Teaching Communication Skills for Behavioral Support in the Context of Family life" By Dr. Pat Mirenda; Teresa MacGregor and Shannon Kelly-Keough.