Playground Communication Boards by Smarty Symbols

FAQs about Communication Boards

Here, you’ll find answers to the most commonly asked questions about our innovative communication tools. Our goal is to help you understand how these boards can enhance communication, learning, and play in various settings, from school playgrounds to community parks.

What is the different between both playground communication board designs for schools?

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.

What are Playground Communication Boards by Smarty Symbols?

Playground Communication Boards by Smarty Symbols are custom designed communication boards designed to make spaces more inclusive for all communicators. They utilize our diverse and inclusive library of symbols to support effective learning and interaction.

Can I customize the symbols on the communication boards?

Absolutely! Customization is at the heart of Smarty Symbols. You can select from over 60,000 images in our Smarty Symbols Image Library to tailor the communication boards to your specific educational requirements.

Where can I purchase Playground Communication Boards?

You can purchase our Communication Boards directly from our website. You can also send a purchase order or request a quote using our contact form.

Are there training or support materials available for using the communication boards?

Yes, we provide a range of support materials and training guides to help you make the most out of your Communication Boards. These resources are designed to help you implement and use our products effectively in your educational settings.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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