A Playground Communication Board made our day!
On summer evenings, I bring my son to a nearby playground as we wait for my daughter to finish with her theatre camp. He loves to practice his ninja moves on the monkey bars and will call out to me when he wants to show me a new skill or when he needs help with a higher rung. Sometimes he sees another child playing and will go over to ask them if they want to play tag. The child usually agrees and off they go chasing each other, adding new dimensions to the game: space attack or cops-and-robbers or something like that.
It is not as easy for children with communication differences. They may have trouble using basic ‘play’ vocabulary (run, play, sand, my turn, kick the ball, under/above/ after), communicating their thoughts feelings/sensory preferences, making choices, asking to join a game, starting conversations with peers, taking turns, and so on.
Last week I came across a sight at the Ronan McElligott Memorial Playground in Westford, MA that thrilled the speech pathologist in me. There was a communication board mounted on the fence, in a visible and accessible section of the playground! We were so excited to find this augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) board in our neck of the woods, complete with words and symbols, and instructions on how to use it. Basically, a simple way to point and play.
AAC boards in public spaces spread awareness and ‘normalize’ communication differences. One more step towards acceptance of children and adults with communication disorders. When public spaces are designed, they should be such that everybody can access them. Adaptations are great but broad Accessibility right at the outset is even better.
I immediately thought of my adorable 3-year-old therapy kid who needs help with communicating his needs and interacting with his peers. A playground therapy session is just what we need at this stage in our therapy progress!
At Resonate Therapy solutions we love working with children in their natural environment that provides wonderful opportunities to work on speech and language skills in an engaging and meaningful context. Fun and functional all the way. All one needs is a little imagination, a little creativity, and a little sand in one’s shoes!
To consult with us, please go to Resonate Therapy Solutions LLC
I am including a list of Accessible playgrounds in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It was last updated in 2017 and may not be comprehensive but it is a good starting point.