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Community Advocacy Organization

Waverly Robotics and Special Services Department Increase Accessibility through playground boards

Courtesy Photo-Playground boards

Lansing, MICH. Waverly’s Special Services Department and Robotics Team came together to create playground boards on all Warrior playgrounds for students that need support with communication.

These Playground Boards could not have happened without the generous donations made by the following organizations: Jasmynn’s Voice, Waverly Preschool, Waverly PTOs and Waverly Special Education.

The playground boards are large communication tools that serve to help students who do not have independent, verbal communication skills. The boards also serve the community, as the playgrounds are open to the public. With these boards, the students can point to a series of images and words in order to communicate their wants, needs and feelings. With this accessible and inclusive communication tool, students have the opportunity to be and feel successful in the playground environment. These two groups teamed up with the speech and language specialists who designed the layout of the board in accordance with best practices.

Courtesy Photo-Playground boards in use

In the past ten years, the overall percentage of students with Autism has increased significantly thus creating a larger need for communication tools in all settings, including the playground. Ten percent of Waverly students need assistance communicating using visuals and iPads, so the boards are the best and most accessible option for students to communicate. Currently, staff do their best to bring students’ iPads outside or handheld paper versions, but students should have the freedom to run around and be hands-free for the variety of playground activities.

Through this project, Waverly Robotics members learned more about the disabilities and challenges that their Warrior peers overcome on a daily basis. These nine playground boards give a voice to children who are nonverbal, which make up 40 percent of children with autism. The Waverly Robotics members want to help their community by providing an equitable and inclusive accommodation for the school and community members who need it.

The Waverly Special Services Department work to ensure that all students receive an equitable education by providing individualized support for our students. Waverly Robotics is a team dedicated to helping and supporting its community, by fostering the minds of its members to sharpen and grow their skills.

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