(West Fargo, ND) -- West Fargo’s Freedom Elementary School and L.E. Berger Elementary School have a new element to their playground: a communication board to facilitate communication between nonverbal and verbal students.
The boards allow for augmentative and alternative communication which, according to Saltillo, a leader in assistive technology distribution, is “a method of communication used by individuals with a wide range of speech and language impairments, including congenital impairments such as cerebral palsy, intellectual impairment and autism, and acquired conditions such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.”
Examples of augmentative and alternative communication used throughout society include restroom signs, traffic signs, and emojis. The communication boards present a variety of labeled images for playground visitors to reference for nonverbal exchanges. This is particularly helpful for those students who rely on technology-based assistance that cannot always be brought outside.
“As a speech therapist and assistive technology specialist, I recognize the importance of communication and inclusion,” said Kelsey Grommesh, project coordinator. “These boards support all students with the opportunity to learn from one another, interact, accept differences, and decrease language barriers.”
The communication boards were designed using a template from Saltillo and were made possible by a grant from the West Fargo Educational Foundation.