When we express a thought or concept, communicating it in written form, the alphabet that we use is free, in both senses of the word. And it is the same for Braille writing: no one has to pay for the individual combinations of points with which letters are represented.

In contrast, there is an area of human communication in which words are not just not available to everyone, but cost and you have to ask permission to use them. This is the area of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). The graphic symbols needed to permit some people with disabilities to communicate are usually subject to onerous policies that limit their use. This is especially true in public spaces, like parks, schools, libraries, meeting spaces, and religious buildings, which are significant for interaction, including social interaction.

The project

The LAC (Libero Aperto Consapevole, i.e. Free Open Mindful) project of #RUNFOREMMA & friends wishes to overcome this situation, responding to the right of people with disabilities to speak and to access and participate in social life. The idea is to offer a symbolic code that is free, open, and mindful of the Italian language, in line with the UN Convention on the rights of people with disabilities. The latter indicates that documents and tools permitting people to access information and express their opinion must be available to people with disabilities in all spheres of life and in all human activities in which they may wish to take part as citizens.

In this sense, the LAC project has the goal of:

  • developing and providing freely and openly a system equipped with composition rules that is more attentive to the specific nature of individual languages;
  • developing a sustainable model for ensuring the maintenance and additional developments, over time, of the new symbolic system;
  • laying the foundations to develop software, including open source, to more easily use the new symbolic system;
  • introducing a wider public to the tools and scientific developments produced.

The beneficiaries

First of all, the children, young people, and adults with communication disabilities and other neurodevelopmental disorders, who may need support for reading and writing the alphabet, or people who have language difficulties or who recently migrated will benefit from creating this free and open symbolic system, as well as all pre-school children (0-6) and their families.

In addition to these parties, the following benefit in an indirect form:

  • the health and social service workers, childhood and adolescence neuropsychiatry unit workers, and those in rehabilitation centres;
  • teachers at kindergarten, primary and secondary school, as well as professional educators, educators at crèches and play centres, teacher aids, communication assistants, paediatric care workers, educational services for minors, and immigrant families;
  • day and residential centres for people with disabilities;
  • social workers, contact people, and coordinators for associations and cooperatives;
  • librarians and socio-cultural workers, such as booksellers and publishers.


Project name: Project for a symbolic code that is Free, Open, and Mindful of Italian - LAC Project
Proposing organisation: #RUNFOREMMA & friends
Area of intervention: Inclusion & Social Development