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The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
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Communication Boards

Adult and children pointing at a communication board Wheaton Local Park
communication board

What is a Communication Board?

Our communication boards are 3’x 5’ foot framed boards installed into the ground displaying over 60 photos, symbols, and illustrations to assist people with diverse language skills to express themselves. The words or phrases are in English, Spanish, and Braille. The user just gestures to the images on the board to communicate with others!

Communication Boards Help Everyone!

People who have autism, recovering from a stroke or brain injury, individuals who are non-verbal, and people who have learning disabilities and/or developmental disabilities can all benefit from communication board use. In addition, 41.7% of the population in Montgomery County are speakers of a non-English language, which is higher than the national average (21.9%).

Providing communication boards can ease the difficulty of communicating with people who have different languages.

How to Use our Communication Boards

Picture communication boards have pictures on them that link to the language we use daily.

These boards have words in English, Spanish, and Braille.

You can use the board to create simple messages.

You can point to a picture to say that word e.g. “Happy” or point to 2 or more pictures to say a simple phrase or sentence e.g. “Hungry + I + want + snack” or “I + want + slide”.

You will notice that the pictures are attached to colors. Knowing these colors may help you to find the words on the board faster.

  • Blue: Adjectives (a word that describes an animal, person, thing, or thought)
  • Green: Verbs (a kind of word (part of speech) that tells about an action or a state)
  • Yellow: Pronouns (words that can be used as a ‘placeholder’ for a noun)
  • Orange: Nouns (names a person, an animal, a place, or a thing)
  • White: Conjunctions (a word that acts as a ‘joining word’, connecting pairs or groups of words and clauses in a sentence.)
  • Pink: Prepositions, social words a word that tells you where or when something is in relation to something else
  • Brown: Adverbs (a word used to tell more about a verb)

Parents: Encourage your child to use the communication board with their friends who may communicate differently. Praise and reinforce the children for using the board appropriately – just like you would if you were teaching your child to talk

Location Sites

Coming Soon:

Montgomery Parks has identified additional locations to pilot this playground enhancement in diverse communities based on their accessible amenities. Check back for additional locations.