Communications Board helps students ‘speak’
By Cheryl Parker

Last fall, Jesup’s upper elementary school playground received an addition that has improved communications at play, especially for their two non-verbal students. The Communications Board is a vinyl banner that provides easy and convenient access to the most common words used to communicate across multiple settings. Every Piece Matters donated the board to the school.

The boards were created by the Talk to Me Technologies team of Speech-Language Pathologists and Vocabulary Design Specialists. Talk to Me Technologies is based out of Cedar Falls and provides technology that allows those with disabilities to “speak” in a synthesized voice when they tap symbols or type on an on-screen keyboard. Because the new banner is made by the same Talk to Me Technologies team, the icons and layout are the same, making it a very comfortable transition for the users.

Fourth grade teacher Nicole Jurgersen is Facebook friends with Cedar Falls resident Allyson Schwab. Helping children with special needs has been a major part of Schwab’s life ever since her twin daughters, Jenna and Lennon, were diagnosed with Autism. This is the third year that Schwab has created a t-shirt sale fund-raising event during Autism Awareness Month to show support for Jenna and Lennon. This year’s profits went to Every Piece Matters, an organization Schwab formed to improve communication within the community, especially to those with special needs. Examples of playground communication include “Do you want to play on the swings?” or “Do you want to take a walk?” There are also opportunities to express feelings and emotions.

Over 40 Communication Boards have currently been donated to area schools. To help more schools receive a board, donations can be made to Every Piece Matters via Venmo @ jenandlenschwab. For any questions or more information on how to donate money for Communication Boards, go to www.jenandlenblue.com or on Facebook using keywords Every Piece Matters.
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