WHEATON, Md. (WDVM) — Wheaton Local Park in Montgomery County added a new feature to the facility to promote inclusion and equality for those who may need extra assistance with communication.
The park unveiled its first-ever communication board which is a device that displays photos and symbols to help those with limited language skills express themselves.
This hands-on interactive device provides a more inclusive play environment for park visitors who are non-verbal, or who may have other disabilities. The boards can also assist with communication between individuals that speak different languages.
The idea behind this board stemmed from a local resident who sent out an email and created a movement.
Laura McAteer worked years as a physical therapist and she saw how much children benefited from communication boards and with one email to Montgomery parks she has implemented change.
“I saw many children use communication boards at home and thought it would be a wonderful idea to have them in parks, so I just sent an email to Montgomery Parks and the rest is history. I’m really glad it worked out,” said McAteer.
The Commission on People with Disabilities 2020 Annual Report states that there are over 80,000 people with a disability living in Montgomery County. Organizers hope this board will create positive change and equality.
Montgomery Parks plans to bring a communication board to the Germantown area in September.