Communication board enhances equality in West End playground

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Administrators, teachers, local leaders and the entire West End Elementary School community gathered on the blacktop on March 22 for a special unveiling of the playground’s new communication board, which will enhance the ability for children with communication disabilities to have equal enjoyment of the equipment.

The board’s creation and placement at West End is thanks to Lynbrook SEPTA and the Lynbrook PBA. Communication boards are also established at Waverly Park and Marion Street elementary schools, the Kindergarten Center and Larson Park and Greis Park in Lynbrook. The West End board, which hangs from a fence in the playground, was covered with a ribbon, ready for a long-awaited grand unveiling, said SEPTA leaders. With the new communication tool, students with limited spoken language ability can express themselves by pointing or gesturing to the images on the board.

“This is very near and dear to both of our hearts,” said SEPTA President Abilene Manasakis, who spoke with SEPTA member Laura MacLeish. “We thank the PBA for being the catalyst to bring this together.”

“Upon understanding the boards’ benefits, it became clear to the Lynbrook PBA and its members that we needed to purchase a communication board for West End,” said PBA President Anthony Falsitta. “It is truly an honor to be a part of an organization like the Lynbrook PBA, which is deeply committed to both enhancing and protecting our community.”

Student CiCi Farr spoke with attendees about her sister, who has a speech delay. “It’s hard for her to communicate, which can be really upsetting to her,” she said. “I feel so hopeful because the world is finding ways to help those who are different.”

Lynbrook Schools speech specialists Alanna Loftus and Danielle Pangallo added that the boards in each playground and park are consistent in matching the symbols found on students’ personal communication devices. They will allow individuals with communication disabilities to have meaningful interactions with both peers and adults in a fun and engaging environment.

“This embodies what being ‘Owl Proud’ is about – because we have to care about each other and we have to make sure everyone feels included,” said Superintendent Dr. Paul Lynch.

Photo caption:
1) On March 22, members of the Lynbrook PBA cut the ribbon on the new West End Elementary School communication board, which will help students with communication disabilities have meaningful interactions in the playground.
2) Superintendent Dr. Paul Lynch spoke to guests before the ribbon was cut.
3) Student CiCi Farr spoke with attendees about her sister, who has a speech delay and will utilize the communication board.
4) Lynbrook Schools administrators, teachers and SEPTA members, as well as PBA members and community leaders, attended the unveiling.

Photos courtesy Lynbrook Public Schools

Date Added: 3/27/2024