Activity/Lesson Based Communication boards are simply boards which have the symbols you need specific to a particular activity or lesson.  For example, you may have a board with communication symbols devoted entirely to singing Old MacDonald. You may use a board that has all the symbols you need to read a particular news article in News-2-You.  Activity boards were at one time, prevalent in classrooms, and the only way we knew to organize vocabulary.  

In the last 20 years, however, we've learned the importance of having our symbols readily available in consistent locations in our devices and books so that the words can be used across all activities, not just for the one particular activity we are currently engaged in.

Activity boards ARE useful, however! When your goal is participation and making sure your student understands the content you are introducing, activity boards may be the perfect solution!  They give the student quick access to words and messages that are "just right" for the activity which increases a student's rate of communication in the fast-paced classroom world.

Caution:  We do need to be sure students have access to comprehensive communication systems, and CORE VOCABULARY.  It would never be appropriate to ONLY use activity based displays. If your goal is quick participation and concept development, the activity board may be your first step in isolating and building knowledge in a very structured manner. If your goal is to teach literacy and communication, activity boards are NOT going to meet this need.  Words that disappear when the activity disappears, are NOT words you have effectively taught the student.

Be careful to teach what you mean to teach!

High Tech Activity/Topic Boards
Some communication devices make use of activity, or "topic" boards.  These have pages organized by frequently occurring topic and activities which occur often during a person's day, such as "hygiene," "riding in the car," "small talk," "meals," and "reading." The pages include quick phrases, comments, questions and words specific to the topic.  Just like our classroom activity boards, these serve the function of increasing a person's rate of communicating using AAC.  Since rate is one of the biggest challenges for AAC users, these "topic pages" can be powerful during regularly occurring activities.  Tobii Dynavox applications have the most robust topic based pages available at this time.

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Components & Directions

  • STEP ONE: Analyze the activity to choose commonly used phrases and words. Listen to speaking students engaging in the activity to get ideas of what messages same aged peers might be using!
  • STEP TWO: Select symbols to represent these messages
  • STEP THREE: Include all of the chosen messages on one page of the communication display- one board, one poster etc.

Print Your Own Preschool & Elementary Center Activity Boards

We've made a few topic based boards for our youngest students. These are designed to match common preschool centers, blocks, art, play dough and cars. The front of each board has messages and the back has specific words you might use. You can print these individually to put in centers or bind into a book that stays in that area of the classroom. Click the file below and download to use today!

Print Your Own Teen Topic Pages

We've chosen some highly common topics our young adults use daily in the classroom and created boards for them too! Our Teen Topic Pages include boards for bathroom, kitchen/cooking, classroom, and shopping (community based instruction).

Click the link below, print and go!