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Bridging The Gap: Communication Boards At C.H. Booth Library



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With the rise of accessible technology, the Speech Pathology Group & Rehab Services of CT find it more important than ever to help neurodivergent and nonverbal residents to connect with their local resources. On June 18, the Speech Pathology Group presented the C.H. Booth Library with a set of communication boards to help residents that struggle to communicate with the librarians and even their own family members.

The boards are sets of icons with matching words, such as nouns or verbs, that a child, or an adult, can point at to help them express their needs. Some icons on the library’s board include bathroom, elevator, want/need, and personal pronouns such as I and me.

“The purpose behind these, for us, is just trying to educate more in the public about communication for … families who might not know about it. [It is] really accessible for children to express their wants and needs, and the library is generally where a lot of our children first start that social exposure,” Caitlin Kukhta, clinical director of the Speech Pathology Group, said.

The Speech Pathology Group has worked with Quinnipiac University to bring these boards into doctors’ offices around to help providers care for and communicate with nonverbal children and adults. They have also worked with local parks to put communication boards into playgrounds to help children connect with each other and communicate more effectively, even if speaking is difficult for them.

The boards aren’t just for nonverbal children, either, the icons on the boards can help children who are still learning language to communicate with adults as well.

“It’s a great supplemental thing for children who do have language, but aren’t necessarily at the typical developmental milestone,” Kukhta explained. The communication boards are just one step in the library’s dedication to being accessible. Alana Bennison, the children’s librarian, brings in professionals that work with neurodivergent children, so they have an opportunity to further their learning.

The communication boards are a “non-threatening,” “self-exploratory” way for children to effectively communicate with adults and will be available to use in the children’s department of the library. There will be a larger board for community use in the play areas, and paper copies families can bring home with them.

Reporter Sam Cross can be reached at sam@thebee.com.

The Speech Pathology Group & Rehab Services of CT presented the C.H. Booth Library with communication boards to assist young children in communicating with librarians. Caitlin Kukhta (left), Alana Bennison, and Kayla Hawley worked together to bring these boards to Newtown. —Bee Photo, Cross
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