Dublin City Council launches new Communication Boards in Park Playgrounds

The first of Dublin City Council’s new Communication Boards was unveiled this morning in Herbert Park by the Lord Mayor of Dublin Daithí de Róiste and the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth of Ireland, Roderic O’Gorman.

Dublin City Council will be installing these Boards in all their park playgrounds over the coming months. The rollout of the Communication Boards follows the announcement earlier this week of a three-year plan for Dublin to become an autism-friendly city.

Communication Boards are primarily a communications support, with particular benefit to children or adults who are either pre-verbal or non-verbal and/or have communication difficulties.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Daithí de Róiste said, “Building an inclusive Dublin is not just a goal; it’s a responsibility on all of us. For some children who have speech difficulties or find it difficult to communicate verbally, these Communication Boards make it easier to convey what they are trying to communicate.  The symbols are clearly marked out and range from asking a question, to highlighting how they are feeling, or where they would like to go within the park.”

“Designed by “Finding Charlie’s Voice”, these Communications Boards are designed to include all and allow for connections outside the communication norms. They have made it possible for people of all ages who struggle with verbal communication to indicate their thoughts and emotions. This tool that betters understanding between people is central to building a more inclusive city and ensuring all our citizens are heard,” he continued.

Minister Roderic O’Gorman said, “Non verbal children can often find themselves excluded from important conversations and social activity as they are unable to communicate through speech. Communication boards have proven to be very effective within school yard settings and I commend Dublin City Council on this initiative, making your playgrounds fun, enjoyable and accessible to all.”

The plan to install Communication Boards in city parks is an initiative of the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Dublin City Council Parks section with the support of the charity Finding Charlie’s Voice.

Finding Charlie’s Voice was founded by Evelyn Byrne in order to address the barriers facing children with speech and language needs. The group created Communication Boards that allow children who have difficulty communicating verbally to express themselves in a variety of settings. It was created by Evelyn following her own son Charlie’s experience with verbal dyspraxia.

The launch of the new Communication Boards is taking place as part of Dublin City Council’s Inclusion and Integration Week which runs through to Sunday 12th November. All events are free to attend and can be found on www.dublincityinclusion.ie.  The aim of the week is to highlight the positive work carried out by Dublin City Council and other agencies to promote social inclusion, integration and diversity in our city.