What Do Communication Boards Look Like?

Communication boards often look different depending on the needs and abilities of the individual using them.

An individual who is in the emerging language page may use a simple core words board, with a few options for “help,” “more,” “go,” ...etc.

An individual who has developed language and can read and spell effectively may have the alphabet on a communication board so they can spell out the messages they want to communicate.

Communication boards are usually customized to the individual user. Oftentimes, they have a combination of letters (to spell specific words) and high-frequency/core words (e.g. bathroom, pain, help, food) to help individuals communicate effectively and efficiently. This is why we see communication boards being used alongside high-tech devices all the time! Just because an individual is a high-tech AAC user, doesn’t mean that they cannot also have access to communication boards or another (lower tech) system.    

Why Do We Love Communication Boards?

No matter how robust a high tech speech-generating device is, sometimes using it is not ideal. For example, a child in a swimming pool or an individual in the middle of completing an ADL (e.g. in the restroom) may not be able to access their device quite as well.

We also love them because sometimes technology is not 100% reliable: dead batteries, damage from (accidental) impact, or an old device can be difficult to communicate with effectively.

Communication boards can also be tailored very specifically to the individuals using them - as with all parts of communication and AAC - there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

How Do We Make Communication Boards?

Communication boards do not need to take hours and hours to create! They can be as simple as a word document with a few pictures/letters that is printed out and inserted into a page protector.

They can also be symbols or letters attached to cardboard.

You may frequently see them laminated to extend their use and durability.

Communication boards can also be created in a various softwares like Boardmaker or SymbolStix. These softwares have symbol systems that are used across other devices as well, so it is consistent if individuals are using both communication boards and speech-generating devices.