New Communication Boards aim to make Broome County Parks more inclusive

Published: May. 24, 2023 at 7:44 PM EDT
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BINGHAMTON (WBNG) -- The Broome County Mental Health Department’s “Broome Includes Initiative” has partnered with the Broome County Parks Department for a new addition to community playgrounds.

As Broome County Parks prepare to open for its 2023 season Dorchester, Otsiningo, Grippen, Greenwood, Roundtop and Nathaniel Cole parks will all feature new communication boards on their playgrounds.

These boards are designed to help people who may be nonverbal or struggle to communicate and express themselves while using a playground.

Megan Olmstead with Broome Includes said the boards feature small icons of different activities on the playground which can be pointed to in order to communicate.

“Someone who may be nonverbal or very limited would be able to point to whatever they need like if they want to play,” said Olmstead. “It gives them that empowerment to really be able to communicate effectively.”

Olmstead said the goal behind the boards is to make Broome County’s Parks more inclusive.

“We really wanted to see more inclusion for kiddos both emotionally and socially and be able to incorporate everything they need,” said Olmstead.

Olmstead said the communication boards have been well received by the community, and she would love to expand them to more playgrounds.

It is a goal for Olmstead and the department to have the boards at every school district in Broome County in the future.