AAC users4 February 2021
It is great to see that more community places are coming on board with AAC and accessible communication. Maybe you’ve seen some of those cool communication boards in your local playground like the one below that we developed for the City of Playford Fremont Park Playground, in South Australia.
Don’t forget though that Communication is a Two Way Street.
A playground board is a wonderful tool for accessibility, but it’s only good if it gets used. Otherwise it’s just a nice decoration. We decided to put together some extra information and tips to make playground boards even better!
What are they?
Who are they for?
How to use them:
The idea of the boards is that a child/person might point to the symbols to ask for, talk about, or direct activities. Below are some examples of the kinds of things you could say by pointing to the symbols on the playground board. Then their friend or parent, could use the symbols to answer them or take a turn about something else. It’s just like talking with symbols.
An important note is that if you do have verbal speech, you can still talk while pointing to the symbols. Using the symbols just helps to get the message across clearly, or can be an alternative to speech if someone has a communication disability.
If your child can’t independently go over to the board and point to the symbols, you might like to try some of these ideas:
Example messages: The playground board has a range of words and messages so that your child can say some of the predictable things they may be thinking when they are at the playground.
Below are some examples of things they might be able to say or that you could show them how to say. Interaction is not just about asking for something. Lots of times children can do that just by pointing to the place in the playground. This board also gives them the opportunity to say other types of messages such as those listed below in orange. Under each message type, are some example messages. The blue text shows words that you might find on a playground board such as the one in the photograph.
We’ve also created 2 levels (Beginner and More Advanced) depending on the complexity of language you need to use.
|Beginner (point to 1 or both of the symbols for the words in blue) then just say the other words.||More advanced You can show them how to combine words on the board. (point to the symbols for the words in blue) then just say the other words.|
|Talk about what they did or want to do|
|I bounced on the trampoline||I bounced on the trampoline|
|I want to go on the slide||I want to go on the slide|
|We had a BBQ.||We (I/me and you) had a BBQ.|
|Can you play the music||Can you play the music|
|Ask a parent or friend to watch them|
|I (me) can do it (watch me)||I can do it.|
|Can you see me? (Look! )||Can you see me? (Look!)|
|Let’s go basketball.||Let’s (you, me) go basketball.|
|I want you to look/(see).||I want you to look/(see).|
|Ask a question about something|
|Where is the slide?||Where is the slide?|
|What do I do on this?||What do I do on this?|
|Uh-oh. I don’t know how to climb up.||Uh-oh. I don’t know how to climb up.|
|Can you help?||Can you help?|
|Can you bounce me?||Can you bounce me?|
|Stop the swing. I don’t like it.||Stop the swing. I don’t like it.|
|Can you help me go to the pond?||Can you help me go to the pond?|
|Can you push me (go) fast.||Can you push me (go) fast.|
|Tell you what they think|
|I like it. It’s fun.||I like it. It’s fun.|
|I don’t like (it) the trampoline. It’s scary.||I don’t like (it) the trampoline. It’s scary.|
|The music is too loud. I don’t like it.||The music is too loud. I don’t like it. Stop.|
|Enhance the activity|
|Go faster||Go faster|
|More climbing||More climbing|
|My turn again (more)||My (me) turn again (more)|
|Stop. Go. Stop. Go.||Stop. Go. Stop. Go.|
|Interact with others|
|Do you want a turn?||Do you want a turn?|
|I’ll help you.||I’ll help you.|
|Let’s play.||Let’s (You me) play.|
|Where are you going?||Where are you going?|
|Talk about problems|
|Uh-oh. The boy fell over. (point to boy).||Uh-oh. The boy fell (fall) over. (point to boy).|
|I’m not finished. I don’t want to go.||I’m not finished. I don’t want to go.|
|I’m tired. Something’s wrong. Rest.||I’m tired. Something’s wrong. I want a rest/break.|
|And many more…. Are there any other messages that you can think of? Please remember these are just example messages and examples of the symbols you can use to say them. It’s important to use messages that are meaningful and useful to your own situation.|