Communication Boards in the Classroom: A Follow-Up
Last week I wrote a post about using communication boards
in a preschool classroom. This week I wanted to write a brief but hopefully
thorough follow-up post about the effective use of such a tool in the classroom
setting, and to examine its obvious limitations.
One parent responded to last week's blog with the following:
"My daughter used these years ago. Mixed
feelings. She got some things across but was frustrated when she couldn't find
what she wanted to say."
When I read her feedback, I immediately realized that I may
not have been as detailed as I should have been about using such a board. I
responded to her statement with the following: "Agreed. The boards are only as good as what's on them. I like to use
them with young children who are non-verbal because they are quick, simple and
easy to use. A communication device is really needed long-term if speech is not
I would like to expand on this response by offering a simple
list of the pros and cons of using such a tool with the hope that this may help
parents especially understand the true functionality of using such tools.
Some of the BENEFITS:
board is durable (once it is laminated) and can be taken anywhere
to make and reproduce
can be changed based on what is being discussed. For example, you can make
a board for mealtime, outdoor play, circle time, arts and crafts, and so
- It can
be used to build vocabulary and teach language acquisition or sentence
- It can
easily be sent home, on the bus, etc., so that carryover is simple
provides a very nice way to begin to introduce linguistic concepts and lay
the foundation for more complex and high-tech devices that may be needed in
Some of the DOWNFALLS:
- It's only
as useful as what's on the board. For example, the child may want to say
something or express a concept that may not be on that particular board
board stands alone and does not have voice output like a "talking" communication
device. Therefore, listeners and even other children need to know and
understand what the images mean.
- The child
needs to know and understand each picture (which are sometimes vague due
to various concepts, etc.) to be able to use it completely.
I hope this helps to clarify the true nature of using tools like this.
Please share your own experiences with using communication boards!