Visual Communication Boards in Playgrounds

Committee: Community Resources

Cost: $20,000

Location: Public parks in Cambridge. Locations will be determined by need and impact assessments.

Short Description:  This project will install visual communication boards in playgrounds for children who have difficulty with verbal communication. This tool allows children and caregivers to point to images to communicate their needs and desires.

Long Description: There are many neuro-diverse students, including those who are autistic, in the Cambridge Public School System who have disabilities that affect their verbal communication skills. Many toddlers also have trouble communicating with words. Permanently installed Communication Boards display custom images paired with words and phrases to support communication. This type of tool allows children and their caregivers to point at or touch images to convey their needs and desires or to communicate with other children. For example, a child who wants to try the swing at a playground can point at the image of a swing set. Communication Boards can also assist English Language Learners and Speech & Language Pathologists (SLPs), including those who work in the Cambridge Public School System. There are Several SLPs in our public school programming who are endorsing the installation of these boards in Cambridge. The Communication Boards assist parents/caregivers in providing language support for their children. Recommended locations include playgrounds at Joan Lorentz, Donnelly, Sennott, Green Rose Heritage, King Open, and the Peabody School. Let’s provide language access and independence to our children!

A large sign in a playground with squares depicting common English words, such as "hello" and "happy," along with pictures representing the words.

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