Category: Ordering

Yes, organizations can certainly request a custom quote for multiple communication boards. Smarty Symbols understands the unique needs of different organizations and is committed to providing tailored solutions that best meet their requirements.

To request a custom quote for multiple boards, simply contact the Smarty Symbols team with the details of your needs, including the number of boards, desired customization options, and any specific preferences or requirements. The team will work closely with you to develop a customized package that offers the best value and meets your organization’s needs.

By offering custom quotes for multiple boards, Smarty Symbols ensures that organizations can effectively implement communication boards throughout their facilities while benefiting from potential cost savings and personalized service.

Category: Customizations

Absolutely! If you have a unique idea or specific requirements that go beyond the standard customization options, Smarty Symbols can create fully custom designs tailored to your needs. To request a custom design, simply reach out to the Smarty Symbols team with your concept and requirements, and they will provide you with a custom quote based on the complexity and scope of your project.

By offering fully custom designs, Smarty Symbols ensures that their communication boards can be adapted to a wide range of environments, user needs, and preferences, providing the most effective and engaging communication tools possible.

Category: Customizations

Yes, Smarty Symbols can certainly replace vocabulary and images on the boards to better suit the needs and characteristics of your specific space. For example, if your playground doesn’t have a monkey bar but features unique equipment not typically found in other playgrounds, Smarty Symbols can modify the words and images accordingly for a fee.

This level of customization ensures that your communication board accurately reflects the environment in which it is placed and provides users with the most relevant and helpful visual cues for effective communication. To request such customizations, please provide the necessary details and preferences when placing your order, and the Smarty Symbols team will work with you to create a board that best serves your needs.

Category: Customizations

Absolutely! If the cost of your communication board is sponsored by another organization, Smarty Symbols would be more than happy to include the sponsor’s logo or recognition on the board design. This not only acknowledges the sponsor’s generosity and support but also helps to foster a sense of community and partnership between organizations.

When placing your order, please provide the necessary details and files related to the sponsor’s logo or recognition, and Smarty Symbols will work with you to ensure the design meets your expectations and appropriately showcases the sponsor’s involvement.

Yes, we do! We offer a Simplified School Playground Communication Board which contains 55 essential words. While we understand that some customers may want a board with even fewer words, we believe that even preschoolers should have access to a rich and diverse vocabulary. The number of words a preschooler should know can vary based on various factors, such as their age, language exposure, and development. On average, a 3-year-old child may know about 300 to 500 words, while a 4-year-old child may know about 1,500 to 1,600 words.

We actually think that 55 words is already very limiting for these young learners. Our goal is to provide students with the tools they need to communicate effectively, and we always assume competence, even for students with a current lower vocabulary. We recommend the Simplified School Playground Communication Board as the best option for a preschool playground, as it provides a comprehensive range of vocabulary while still being easy to use for young children.

purchase a school playground communication board by smarty symbols 3 2
purchase a school playground communication board by smarty symbols 3 2

At Smarty Symbols, we strongly believe that every child should be encouraged to learn and grow, including their vocabulary. While we understand the concern of wanting to simplify the board, we do not recommend reducing the number of words on the board. The expected vocabulary for preschool children is significant and we want to ensure that the children have the opportunity to be exposed to as many words as possible. We always assume competence in children, even if they have a lower vocabulary at the moment, and our communication boards are designed to help them learn and grow their vocabulary over time. We believe that every child deserves the chance to express themselves fully, and our communication boards are an important tool in supporting their communication and language development.

Category: Ordering

Yes, Smarty Symbols gladly accepts purchase orders from governmental organizations, including schools and cities. To submit a purchase order, please follow the instructions on our website or reach out to our customer support team for guidance. Upon receiving your purchase order, we will promptly contact you to gather any necessary details and initiate the design process. This ensures a seamless procurement experience for schools and organizations while adhering to their internal purchasing procedures.

Category: Ordering

To purchase any product visit our website and follow the ordering process. Once your order is placed, our team will begin preparing your customized sign, and it will be shipped directly to your school. If you have any questions or need assistance during the ordering process, our customer support team is available to help.

Category: Installation

The installation process for your communication board depends on the type of material and the location where you intend to place it. We have a specific document with details about installation and photos of other installation from previous creative customers. Here are some general guidelines for installing different types of communication boards:

  1. Plastic (6MM PVC/Sintra) boards: These can be placed on wood back posts or attached to fences using zip ties or other suitable methods.
  2. Wooden (High-Density Fiberboard) boards: These can be mounted using screws, brackets, or other appropriate hardware, ensuring that the board is securely fastened to a stable surface.
  3. Aluminum (3mm) boards: These can be installed using screws or other suitable fasteners, making sure the board is firmly attached to the desired location.

For more detailed installation instructions and recommendations, please refer to the product manual or contact the Smarty Symbols team for assistance.

Categories: Customizations, Ordering

The time it takes to receive your communication boards from Smarty Symbols depends on several factors, such as the design process, manufacturing, and shipping time.

  1. Design process: After placing your order and providing the necessary customization details, the design team will create the layout for your board. This process typically takes around 4 to 5 days. Once the design is completed, a PDF proof will be sent to you for approval or any requested modifications. The production won’t begin until you are satisfied with the design and have approved the proof.
  2. Manufacturing: Once the design is approved, the manufacturing process begins. This usually takes about 4 days to complete, depending on the material and customization options selected.
  3. Shipping: Shipping time varies depending on your location. Boards are shipped free to all continental US and Canada addresses. Keep in mind that the delivery time will depend on the shipping carrier and any potential delays or issues that may arise during transit.

In summary, it may take approximately 2-3 weeks from the time you place your order until you receive your communication boards, considering the design, manufacturing, and shipping processes. However, this timeline is an estimate and may vary based on your specific circumstances.

We get it! We love making this process easy for everyone. You can download a copy of our w9 here.

The A-Frame Sign is designed primarily for elementary school students. However, the conversation starters and topics can be adapted to suit a wide range of age groups, making it a versatile tool for promoting inclusive communication in various school settings.

A communication board is a visual aid designed to support and enhance communication for individuals who have difficulty with verbal expression or understanding spoken language. Communication boards display a combination of words, symbols, pictures, and sometimes letters or numbers, allowing users to convey their thoughts, feelings, needs, and wants by pointing to or touching the images on the board. They can be used by people with a range of communication challenges, including those with autism, developmental disabilities, aphasia, or other speech and language impairments.

Communication boards come in various formats, from low-tech printed paper or laminated sheets to high-tech electronic devices with touch screens and voice output. They can be customized to suit the individual’s unique communication needs and preferences, incorporating personally relevant vocabulary and images.

Category: Ordering

There are several funding ideas to consider for implementing communication boards in public city playgrounds. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Grants: Apply for grants from local, state, or federal government agencies, as well as private foundations that support accessible and inclusive play spaces.
  2. Sponsorships: Partner with local businesses or larger corporations to sponsor the cost of the communication boards. In exchange, you could offer to include their logo on the board or acknowledge their support through other promotional means.
  3. Crowd-funding: Launch a crowd-funding campaign on platforms like GoFundMe or Kickstarter to raise funds from the community. This not only helps finance the project but also raises awareness about the importance of accessible playgrounds.
  4. Fundraising events: Organize community events such as bake sales, charity runs, or silent auctions to raise funds for the project. This can help engage the community and create a sense of ownership and pride in the playground.
  5. Collaborate with non-profits: Partner with non-profit organizations that focus on accessibility, inclusion, or special education to jointly apply for grants or pool resources for the project.
  6. Budget allocation: Work with the city council or relevant governmental bodies to allocate a portion of the city’s budget towards inclusive playground projects, including the installation of communication boards.

By exploring these funding options, you can secure the necessary resources to install communication boards in public city playgrounds, promoting inclusion and accessibility for all children.

Discover the ease and simplicity of ordering a Smarty Symbols Playground Communication Board for your city park. Our website allows you to choose from a variety of communication board designs for city parks and customize to your specific needs for an instant quote. Payment options include purchase orders from cities or credit card payments. Our team will guide you through the design process and provide step-by-step installation guidelines. Ensure inclusive and accessible parks for all children, including non-speaking children, with Smarty Symbols. Contact us today to learn more.

We love when cities are interested in becoming more inclusive. Here are the steps to making sure your city parks have a communication board:

  1. Visit our website: Choose the communication board design for city parks, select your customization options, and generate an instant quote on screen. You can even make the initial purchase directly on the website using a credit card.
  2. Reach out to us: If you need assistance, a member of our team will be happy to advise you on board selection and provide you with a custom quote.
  3. Payment options: We accept purchase orders from cities and also allow for credit card payments.
  4. Design process: Once payment is received, a member of our team will reach out to gather resources for the board design, including your city logo, park name and location, color options, and any additional customizations.
  5. Proof and production: Our design team will create a proof of the final design for your approval and feedback. Once approved, production of the communication board will begin and take 3 to 7 days.
  6. Shipping and installation: The boards are shipped free of charge and come with step-by-step installation guidelines.
  7. Final invoice and promotion: After receiving the board, we will issue a final invoice for payment and ask if you would like us to promote your inclusive efforts through our social media channels and with the disability community.
  8. We are dedicated to making sure that parks and playgrounds are inclusive and accessible for all children, and we are here to support you every step of the way!
warrent city proof small smartysymbols playground communication board
warrent city proof small smartysymbols playground communication board

The images used on Smarty Symbols boards come from the Smarty Symbols image library, an internationally recognized special education image set. This library contains 35,000 images designed specifically to support communication and language learning for individuals with diverse needs, including those with autism, speech and language disorders, and other communication challenges. School are able to bundle the communication board with our software access for their staff. The access to the software allows teachers to create additional custom materials for the classroom.

At Smarty Symbols, we believe in creating inclusive and accessible environments for all students, regardless of their communication abilities. With our new “School Wide Communication Access” bundle, we aim to provide schools with the necessary tools to promote language learning and social communication opportunities throughout the entire campus.

The Whole School Communication Access Plan is a comprehensive solution tailored to streamline the process for SLPs and educators while ensuring that every student has access to communication support in various settings within the school building. This includes playgrounds, classrooms, nurse’s offices, libraries, and more.

Key features of the “School Wide Communication Access” bundle:

  1. Customizable Communication Boards beyond the playground: Our plan includes communication boards designed specifically for different settings within a school, such as the playground, the library, nurse’s office, speech therapy room and classrooms. Each board features relevant vocabulary that children need to communicate in these areas, and they can be customized to suit your school’s unique needs.
  2. Comprehensive Coverage: The Whole School Communication Access Plan focuses on providing communication support in all common areas of the school, not just in the playground or classroom. This ensures that students have access to the tools they need to succeed in every part of their school day.
  3. Access to Smarty Symbols Studio Software: With this plan, you’ll also have access to our innovative software for creating custom communication materials and lesson plans. This powerful tool enables you to develop tailored resources that meet the specific needs of your students and school community.
  4. Promote Inclusivity and Positive School Culture: Implementing the Whole School Communication Access Plan fosters an inclusive environment where all students feel supported and empowered to communicate effectively. This, in turn, helps to build a positive school culture that benefits everyone.

Invest in the “School Wide Communication Access” bundle by Smarty Symbols, and take a significant step toward making your school a more inclusive and supportive environment for all students. Together, we can help every child unlock their full communication potential. Download a copy of our brochure here.

The Core Vocabulary Communication Board and the Playground Communication Board serve different purposes and are designed for distinct settings.

The Core Vocabulary Communication Board focuses on 112 essential core vocabulary words that are frequently used in everyday communication. This board is intended for use in classrooms, hallways, and speech therapy rooms, promoting language development and inclusive communication across various educational environments. It is an excellent resource for special education professionals, speech therapists, and educators working to enhance students’ language skills and overall communication proficiency.

On the other hand, the Playground Communication Board is specifically designed for use in playgrounds or other outdoor play areas. It features vocabulary and images related to outdoor play, promoting social interaction and inclusive communication during recess or other outdoor activities. By providing visual cues and context-specific vocabulary, the Playground Communication Board helps students communicate their needs and wants effectively while engaging in play, fostering a more inclusive and enjoyable experience for all.

In summary, while both boards aim to promote communication and inclusivity, the Core Vocabulary Communication Board is geared towards language development in educational settings, while the Playground Communication Board focuses on supporting social interaction and communication during outdoor play.

The main difference between the two playground communication board designs for schools is the number of words included on the board. The School Playground Communication Board features a total of 78 words and is designed for elementary schools from kindergarten to 5th grade, while the Simplified School Playground Communication Board features a total of 55 words and is designed specifically for pre-K playground environments. Both boards are weather-resistant, fully customizable, and promote communication and social interaction among students. The School Playground Communication Board includes a wider range of vocabulary words and is suitable for a broader age range of students, while the Simplified School Playground Communication Board is designed with younger students in mind and features essential vocabulary words that are most relevant to pre-K playground settings.

Categories: Installation, Materials

The typical lifespan of a communication board depends on several factors, including the material it is made from, the quality of the construction, the environment in which it is used, and how well it is maintained. Here are some general guidelines for the durability of different materials:

  1. Plastic (6MM PVC/Sintra) boards: These boards are long-lasting and suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. They can withstand various weather conditions and should last for several years with proper care.
  2. Wooden (High-Density Fiberboard) boards: These boards are weather-resistant and can last for years if well-maintained. However, they may be more susceptible to wear and tear compared to plastic or aluminum boards.
  3. Aluminum (3mm) boards: Aluminum boards are very durable and can last for many years, even in harsh outdoor environments. They are resistant to weather, fading, and abrasion, making them a reliable option for long-term use.

To extend the lifespan of your communication board, it is essential to follow proper maintenance and care instructions. This includes cleaning the board regularly, avoiding exposure to extreme conditions, and checking for any signs of wear or damage. By taking care of your communication board, you can ensure it remains effective and functional for as long as possible.

To further extend the lifespan of your communication board, you can consider adding a protective layer of plexiglass to the surface. Plexiglass is a transparent, durable, and lightweight material that provides an additional layer of protection against wear and tear, as well as environmental factors such as moisture and sunlight.

Adding plexiglass to your communication board can help preserve the printed images and text, ensuring that they remain vibrant and legible for an extended period. This option is particularly beneficial for boards placed in high-traffic or outdoor areas, where they may be exposed to harsher conditions or more frequent use.

Given that this is a highly customizable product. We do not offer a refund on the product. However, our team is happy to work to make sure you are happy with the product before any fabrication takes place. That’s why it is very important that you ask all your questions prior to fabrication of your board. If your board arrives damaged, please submit photos of the damage and the box immediately upon arrival so we can address it promptly.

Under no circumstance we will issue a new reprint of products beyond 30 days from delivery of your product.

Tag: refund
Category: Customizations

Nearly everything! Smarty Symbols is committed to providing communication boards that cater to the unique needs of each client. For example, we use the Fitzgerald Key color scheme, which means that we can replace verbs and words of choice on your board; however we would not change the background color of the verbs to brown for example. Some of the available customizations include: However we do only customize keeping industry standards.

  1. Organization Name: The boards can be personalized with the name of the clinic or school where they will be used. This adds a professional touch and helps create a sense of ownership and pride in the communication tool.
  2. Logo Integration: Customers can request to have their organization’s logo added to the board, enhancing brand recognition and creating a more cohesive visual identity within their space.
  3. Color Matching: Smarty Symbols can match the color of the board to your organization’s logo, ensuring a consistent and professional appearance that complements your branding.
  4. Sponsor Recognition: If the cost of your communication board is sponsored by another organization, Smarty Symbols would be more than happy to include the sponsor’s logo or recognition on the board design. This not only acknowledges the sponsor’s generosity and support but also helps to foster a sense of community and partnership between organizations.

VOCABULARY CUSTOMIZATIONS:

Smarty Symbols can certainly replace vocabulary and images on the boards to better suit the needs and characteristics of your specific space. For example, if your playground doesn’t have a monkey bar but features unique equipment not typically found in other playgrounds, Smarty Symbols can modify the words and images accordingly for a fee. See our fee schedule directly on each product page. If you need a custom quote, feel free to message us directly.

CUSTOM ICON

We can also illustrate a custom icon for spaces that are truly unique. Just send us a photograph of the playground equipment you would like us to create a one of a kind image for.

Categories: Installation, Materials

The material you select for your communication board depends on factors such as the intended use, location, and budget. Here are the three material options offered by Smarty Symbols along with their characteristics to help you make an informed decision:

  1. Plastic (6MM PVC/Sintra): Durable plastic signs printed with UV ink are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. These long-lasting signs can be placed on wood back posts or attached to fences with zip ties or other methods. If you are looking for a cost-effective option that can withstand various weather conditions, this might be a suitable choice.
  2. Wooden (High-Density Fiberboard): Weather-resistant wooden signs are printed using a four-color UV printing process on high-density fiberboard. They are eco-friendly and resistant to weather, fading, and abrasion. These signs are approximately 0.5″ thick. If you prefer a more natural look and want an environmentally friendly option, wooden signs might be the right choice.
  3. Aluminum (3mm): Aluminum signs are made of two 0.008″ aluminum sheets sandwiching a solid polyethylene core. They are printed with eco-friendly, weather, fade, and abrasion-resistant UV ink, and an optional extra UV protection glossy layer can be added. Aluminum signs are durable and offer a professional appearance, making them ideal for situations where aesthetics and longevity are important considerations. Aluminum board are not recommended for cities in very hot climate.

When selecting a material, consider the environment in which the board will be placed, your budget, and any specific aesthetic preferences. If you are still unsure about which material to choose, you can always reach out to the Smarty Symbols team for guidance based on your particular needs and requirements. Here is a brochure with installation ideas, which can help determine the best material for your need.

Category: Materials

Smarty Symbols offers boards made from a variety of high-quality materials to suit different needs and preferences. Some of the materials available include:

  1. Plastic: Durable 6MM PVC plastic (sintra) signs printed with UV ink for long-lasting indoor or outdoor use. These boards can be attached to wood back posts or fences with zip ties or other methods.
  2. Wooden: Weather-resistant wooden signs printed using a four-color UV printing process on high-density fiberboard. The eco-friendly, fade, and abrasion-resistant UV ink ensures durability. These signs are approximately 0.5″ thick.
  3. Aluminum: Aluminum signs composed of two 0.008″ aluminum sheets sandwiching a solid polyethylene core. These 3mm signs are printed with eco-friendly, weather, fade, and abrasion-resistant UV ink. An optional extra UV protection glossy finish can be added for increased durability.
  4. For the Social Communication Portable A-Frame Sign, the premium A-Frame itself is made from durable and weather-resistant materials to ensure stability and longevity. The graphic inserts are designed for easy slide-in and slide-out functionality, allowing you to change messages quickly and effortlessly. These graphics are also made from high-quality materials and printed with vibrant, fade-resistant inks to maintain their visual appeal even in outdoor environments.

Category: Installation

When selecting a location for your communication board, consider factors such as visibility, accessibility, and the specific needs of your intended users. The closer the board is to the playground equipments the better. If the playground is large and has multiple separate spaces, consider adding more than 1 board. Children should not have to move too far to access their words. The board should be placed in a prominent and easily accessible area where users can comfortably interact with it. Additionally, consider any environmental factors, such as exposure to direct sunlight or moisture, that may impact the board’s durability and performance.

When designing a communication board for a specific space, it is crucial to consider the needs and abilities of the users who will be utilizing it. This includes taking into account factors such as the age range, accessibility requirements, and visual accessibility for all users.

For elementary school settings, where children aged 4 to 10, including those in wheelchairs, will be using the communication board, it is important to ensure that the board is designed at an appropriate height that allows easy access for all users. The board should be positioned at a height that allows children in wheelchairs to reach and view the content comfortably. Additionally, it should be placed at a height that allows standing children to see and interact with the board without straining or needing assistance.

The average arm span, or the length from fingertip to fingertip when both arms are outstretched, for children in elementary school typically ranges from about 48 to 58 inches (122 to 147 cm). However, it’s important to note that arm span can vary among individuals based on factors such as height, body proportions, and age.

That’s why Smarty Symbol’s communication boards are no wider than 45 inches. This will ensure that elementary school children can access all the symbols on the board. We highly recommend that if you are designing your own board that you stay within that width. Our products have been studies and many aspects taken into consideration. That’s what we do!

Here is one of our installation documentations which you can download.

Category: Ordering

We offer free shipping on our communication boards to the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and most of Europe. This allows customers from various locations to take advantage of our products without worrying about additional shipping costs. We are committed to providing accessible and inclusive communication tools to as many people as possible, and offering free shipping to these regions is one way we work towards that goal. Please note that shipping times may vary depending on your location and any potential delays or issues during transit.

Category: Materials

Of the three materials used for Smarty Symbols communication boards, aluminum is the most durable option. The aluminum boards are made up of two 0.008″ aluminum sheets sandwiching a solid polyethylene core. These boards are known for their excellent durability, weather resistance, and resistance to fading and abrasion.

Aluminum boards are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use and can withstand harsh environmental conditions, making them a reliable choice for long-term applications. Additionally, they can be printed with eco-friendly, weather-resistant UV ink, and an optional extra UV protection glossy layer can be added for further protection. However, these boards are not recommended for extremely hot environments without an additional layer of plexiglass. As children will be touching it to communicate. In such case, the plastic is the more recommended material.

While plastic (6MM PVC/Sintra) boards are also durable and suitable for indoor and outdoor use, they may not be as resistant to extreme conditions as aluminum boards. But will still last years. Wooden (High-Density Fiberboard) boards are weather-resistant, but they can be more susceptible to wear and tear compared to plastic or aluminum boards.

When we choose symbols for children who have difficulty speaking, it’s important to give them a chance to try different symbol sets to see which ones they understand and prefer. This is because not all children understand the same symbols, and it wouldn’t be fair to choose symbols that are used by the majority of children if they don’t work well for others.

Research has shown that children who use alternative communication methods can understand symbols even if they look different from one set to another. This means that giving children access to multiple symbol sets can help them improve their language and communication skills. It also shows that children who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) are capable of generalizing the representation of symbols across different symbol sets. This means that they can recognize and use the same symbol across different symbol sets, even if they were not directly taught that symbol in that particular set.

There is research that shows that children can generalize the representation of symbols across different symbol sets. One study published in the Augmentative and Alternative Communication journal in 2018 found that children with complex communication needs were able to learn and generalize symbols across multiple symbol sets, including those with different graphic styles and organization. The study suggests that providing access to multiple symbol sets can benefit children’s language development and communication skills. Another study published in the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology in 2016 found that preschool children who were trained to use a particular symbol set were able to generalize to novel words represented by different symbol sets. Overall, these studies suggest that children have the ability to generalize symbol representations across different symbol sets, which supports the use of multiple symbol sets in communication boards and other AAC devices.

  1. Drager, K. D., Postal, V. J., Carrolus, L., Castellano, M., Gagliano, C., Glynn, J., & Osgood, R. (2006). A comparison of graphic symbol systems and the performance of typically developing preschool-aged children on the ABLLS-R expressive communication subtest. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 49(6), 1197-1213. doi: 10.1044/1092-4388(2006/087)
  2. Binger, C., & Light, J. (2007). The effect of aided AAC modeling on the expression of multi-symbol messages by preschoolers who use AAC. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 23(1), 30-43. doi: 10.1080/07434610600816300

In addition to the research supporting generalization across different symbol sets, Smarty Symbols offers a unique advantage in promoting diversity and inclusion. Many symbol sets on the market today offer limited options for character representation and lack modern images that may better resonate with students. Smarty Symbols was designed with diversity and belonging in mind, offering a range of inclusive images that better reflect today’s diverse society. By allowing students to embrace and connect with modern, inclusive images, educators and SLPs can better support their students’ communication development and overall well-being. Ultimately, it is important to choose a symbol set that aligns with your values and promotes the best outcomes for your students.

Got More Questions? Just reach out to our team!

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Funding for Inclusive Play: How to Secure a Communication Board for Your School or Playground

Looking for fundraising ideas to bring communication boards to your school or community playground? Explore a range of creative and effective strategies in this article. Discover how individuals and organizations have successfully secured funding through grassroots initiatives, partnerships with local businesses, and grant applications. Uncover the power of community engagement and the positive impact of communication boards on children of all abilities. Get inspired to take action and create inclusive play spaces that foster communication, belonging, and endless possibilities for every child.

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