Church creates online library of symbolic images related to the gospel
Abby, the 8-year-old daughter of Michelle Cangelosi, uses an AAC device to communicate.
AAC is short for Augmentative and Alternative Communication. While there are many ways to use an AAC device, Abby uses it with her eyes. The computer detects where she is looking and presses a button to broadcast what she wants to say.
When Cangelosi began using symbols and picture icons on Abby’s device to teach her about the world around her, she realized there weren’t many icons available to teach her about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“The gospel is a big part of our lives and there are unique words of the gospel. And on devices, you don’t have these words. You have to put them in or try to explain it in a different way if you’re using their device,” said Cangelosi, who lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area.
The religious icons that were available often did not align with Church doctrine. For example, an icon for baptism showed a baby with water being sprinkled on his head.
“I was thinking that it would be great for Abby and other people like her to be able to have these words accessible for them to use,” Cangelosi explained.
After reading articles in Church magazines about members with disabilities, Cangelosi and her husband, Kevin, decided to contact Katie Steed, the Church’s disability specialist manager. They expressed their concern and began a process to create symbolic images related to the Gospel.
On December 12, the first library of Gospel Language Symbols was published. It is now available for download on the Church website.
The library includes images that can help parents, leaders, and others teach Church principles and doctrine. These symbols can be particularly useful for someone like Abby who can’t speak, but they can benefit anyone who prefers to use a visual image to represent words and phrases related to El Salvador Church and its gospel.
Steed said the more his team shares these icons with others, the more ways they see how they can be used.
“For example, a Primary teacher or a parent can use the symbols with young children to help them better understand gospel themes by making them more visual. The images can also be used to help bridge the gap when teaching about the gospel in multiple languages,” Steed said.
“We see potential in these symbols to bless the lives of many teachers, students, and families who want to better understand the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Cangelosi said she’s grateful that she and her husband have reached out, not just to Abby but to others as well.
“The Church realized there was a need for a mother’s voice,” Cangelosi said. “I think there are things that we don’t always know are supposed to happen, but when we speak up and let others know, things can change and people can really get the help they need.
“A mother’s voice, a father’s voice, is very important to help our children and also to help our Church community.”
Gospel Language Symbols can be found in the Gospel Library app and online at the disabilities section in Life Help.
Below are some of the many symbols available. More symbols will be added in the future.