Introducing Outdoor Communication Boards: Fostering Connection for All

Picture this: a world where every student’s voice is understood and communication isn’t just a skill but a gateway to connection and growth. That vision drives us at the Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB). We understand that communication isn’t just about words; it’s about building bridges and forging relationships.

What are Outdoor Communication Boards?

That’s why we’re thrilled to introduce something truly groundbreaking: outdoor communication boards. Imagine vibrant, interactive spaces where students can express themselves freely, regardless of their communication challenges. These boards, born from the dedication of our speech-language pathologists (SLPs), are more than just installations. They’re symbols of our commitment to inclusivity and innovation.

They feature pictures or symbols that students can point to to express themselves. These boards are beneficial for students facing communication challenges, such as those on the autism spectrum, with physical or intellectual disabilities, various genetic syndromes, or English language learners.

Why are they Important?

These boards are all about fostering connections. Many students face challenges communicating outside the classroom, especially without tools like AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication). This often means missing out on the social aspects of school life—like playing, chatting with friends, or simply feeling included. This often results in missing out on the social aspects of school life, such as playing, chatting with friends, or feeling included. But with these outdoor communication boards, we’re changing that narrative. We’re giving students the tools they need to express themselves freely, join in the fun, and be an integral part of our school community.

Promoting Inclusion and Understanding

Outdoor communication boards promote inclusivity and acceptance within our schools. By making communication accessible everywhere, we show students that different communication styles don’t stop anyone from participating. Through these initiatives, we aim to foster empathy, understanding, and appreciation for diversity among our students.

Benefits for Everyone

While outdoor communication boards primarily support students with communication challenges, they benefit all students. These boards provide opportunities to practice reading, develop picture-object relationships, and learn about acceptance. By embracing these tools, our schools create a more accessible environment and a community where everyone is valued and supported.

Looking Ahead

We’re excited to pilot outdoor communication boards in 16 schools within the OCSB. Through collaboration with SLPs and educators, we’re dedicated to finding innovative ways to support student communication and create inclusive learning environments. We can empower every student to communicate, connect, and thrive together.

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