By Carol Meyer
Realizing that play is a critical part of children's development, the Norwell Commission on
Disabilities applied for and was awarded two communication boards for the Gaffield Park
and Reynolds playgrounds through the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism.
These visual aids -- featuring color-coded parts of speech -- will support both minimally-
verbal and verbal children and adults in communicating effectively, including initiating
conversations, self-advocacy, and navigating social situations.
"The Commission on Disabilities is all about trying to create a more inclusive community,"
COD Chair Patti Nelson said. She and fellow COD members Kristin Britton, Julie Quill,
Cheryl Reed, Jim Kelliher, and Sarah Martin are working together on this project. Communication boards display simple, recognizable images, symbols, words, and illustrations to help people of limited language skills put together phrases and sentences.
They also help children and adults of all ages and abilities express themselves by gesturing or pointing to images to communicate with others -- including sharing a message or asking a question. The COD's contribution for the two boards was $300 each.
The Commission is working with Recreation Director George Grey and Glenn Ferguson of
the DPW to find a way to install the weather-resistant communication boards in an
accessible location at both playgrounds, hopefully by this Fall.
The COD, working with Norwell Public Library Director Rachel Breen, is also funding a
smaller, bilingual SmartySymbols board -- a similar visual support communication option --to be installed soon. The hope is that this board will be a mobile unit.
Meet Carol Meyer