Canton Township recently installed innovative nonverbal communication boards in two of its popular parks – Heritage and Independence Parks.
These boards are designed to enable nonverbal individuals to easily communicate through the use of this augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) board that will help individuals express themselves while encouraging inclusivity and conversation on the playground.
“Canton Township continually works towards increasing the more inclusive amenities to our Parks,” stated Laura Mortier, Recreation Supervisor. “These additions will go a long way to enable more park visitors of all abilities to have a positive experience at our playground, all while creating a more equitable play environment for all.”
Developed by Communication is Key, AAC, a Michigan-based nonprofit organization, these communication stations were created to assist individuals with complex communications needs, such as individuals with diagnoses such as autism, dementia, intellectual disabilities, hearing loss and more.
Installed low to the ground for ease of use by children, these 3-feet by 4-feet panels enable individuals to point to pictures/words on the display to express their thoughts and feelings. The posted instructions are simple: To use the board: point to the symbols while you talk; allow response time; and have fun!
The board features several symbols that users can simply point out in order to express what they are trying to say. These squares include illustrations and words for pronouns: I, you; with other boxes indicating actions, such as: climb, swing, slide, run and more. Additional boxes can be used to indicate the visitor needs a bathroom break or use of a drinking fountain, along with the basics “Yes,” “No,” “What?” “Where?” “All Done,” and others.
These augmentative and alternative communication boards can be found in Heritage Park, which is a 106-acre park located behind the Canton Administration Building at 1150 S. Canton Center Road, and at Independence Park, an 80-acre park located on the southwest corner of Denton and Proctor Roads.
For more information about the installation of these non-verbal communication panels or any Canton Park, visit https://www.cantonfun.org/147 or call 734/394-5460.