City of Boise leaders unveiled a new way for children and adults of all abilities to communicate and explore the accessible playground at Bowden Park on the Boise Bench. The new playground communication board dedicated on September 18, 2023, at Bowden Park is the first of its kind at a Boise playground, but it won’t be the last.
“This is a game changer for many families in the Treasure Valley, making this playground even more accessible and inclusive,” said Boise Mayor Lauren McLean. “I’m proud of the community members who came forward to suggest this addition at Bowden Park and look forward to our team adding this important communication tool for children at other playground locations across the City of Boise.”
The new sign encourages inclusive play for all members of our community and is an effective way to allow children of all abilities to communicate and promote public awareness of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). The idea for the board was brought to Boise Parks and Recreation by a local speech language pathologist and advocate, who worked closely with department staff and the city’s Community Accessibility Manager, Ciera Garechana, to make it a reality.
“Accessibility means something different to every individual and we want our park playgrounds to be a place where children of all abilities can learn and play together,” added Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway. “This project is an incredible example of our community’s caring nature and desire to be inclusive and welcoming.”
Communication boards at playgrounds have become increasingly popular in recent years. Many of the symbols and images are standardized across the country for ease of use and understanding, while other graphics on the board are personalized and tailored to the specific playground equipment and park site where the board is located. Boise’s first playground communication board includes custom graphics for Bowden Park, as well as braille and both English and Spanish.
To dedicate the new board, Open Arms Dance Project performed a surprise flash mob at Bowden Park. This incredible dance team promotes positivity and inclusivity through their inspiring performances.
For more information on Boise Parks and Recreation’s efforts to create accessible and inclusive recreation opportunities for all, click here.