Making Waterparks Inclusive with Communication Boards for Non-Verbal Children

This blog discusses how essential tools help non-verbal children, including those on the autism spectrum. They allow kids to express their needs and emotions safely and clearly.

Introduction to Communication Boards in Public Spaces

Communication boards are essential for children with autism and those who are non-speaking. They enable expression of thoughts and feelings without verbal speech. Many school districts have incorporated these boards into their playgrounds, recognizing their value. Similarly, city parks are increasingly adopting communication boards to enhance inclusivity. Public libraries, pools, and waterparks are also starting to accommodate children who rely on alternative communication methods. Water parks especially benefit from communication boards. They ensure a comfortable and safe experience for both children and parents. This is crucial because children who normally use speech-generating devices cannot bring these devices near water. Thus, waterparks and public pools are key locations for communication boards.

Overland Park Communication Board

Enhancing Emotional Expression with Communication Boards

One of the main benefits of communication boards in water parks is that they offer an opportunity for children with autism or non-speaking children to express themselves. For example, some communication boards are equipped with visuals that help children express their emotions and needs, such as “happy”, “sad”, “thirsty”, “hungry”, and more. This can be especially beneficial for children on the autism spectrum, as they often have difficulty expressing their emotions through verbal speech. In addition, communication boards can also help non-speaking children communicate more effectively with their peers and adults.

Another benefit of communication boards in water parks is that they provide a sense of safety and security for both children and parents. Communication boards can help children feel more comfortable in unfamiliar situations and can help parents feel more at ease when in a crowded environment. For example, if a child is feeling overwhelmed in a noisy environment, they can point to a communication board to communicate that they need some quiet time. This can be especially helpful in water parks, which can often be overwhelming for both children and parents.

Until recently, when an organization was interested in making their space more inclusive for non-speaking children and adults would have to create their own boards. This time consuming and overwhelming task requires licensing appropriate images, hiring a designer, figuring out a durable and appropriate material and a printing company. Now, organizations can easily order communication boards from Smarty Symbols.


Streamlining Inclusivity in Aquatic Environments

Renee Reis, the Aquatics Supervisor for the City of Overland Park, Kansas is responsible for making one of their facilities more inclusive with the addition of a communication board. The staff at Overland Park, just recently completed a swim lesson program “Swim Angelfish” to make our swim lessons more inclusive.  Renee is working on becoming a more inclusive facility as well. 

Overland Park Communication Board

Recently one of our parks, which is our first inclusive park, added a communication board as well. I also have a sister that works in special education and is a blogger for the Autism Helper. Seeing her work I knew I needed to do better to serve our community. I visited the park and wanted something similar. After seeing a post on facebook I did some research and found that Smarty Symbols makes them specific to the pool setting. We offer a swim for individuals and their families with special needs so they can enjoy the pool and knew this would be a great feature to add."

Renee Reis

Aquatics Supervisor for the City of Overland Park, Kansas

Conclusion: The Impact of Communication Boards in Water Parks

Smarty Symbols is a texas based company that has created a diverse and inclusive image library for educators. They have taken on the mission to make public spaces more inclusive for children with disabilities with communication boards designed for different spaces. Organizations can work with Smarty Symbols to customize the board with the park’s logo, name and location. The organization receives a communication board ready to install in a matter of days. All of Smarty Symbols’s communication can be seen on their dedicated communication board website.

Overall, communication boards in water parks can make a huge difference for both children and adults alike. They can help children with autism or non-speaking children express themselves more effectively, and can provide a sense of security and comfort for both children and parents. This can help create a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved, and can help ensure that everyone has a good time.

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Communication Board

Waterpark Communication Board

Waterpark Communication Boards by Smarty Symbols - the perfect solution for promoting clear and effective communication in your pool, water park, or splash pad area! Made from high-quality materials and...


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