Boardmaker is a publishing tool that uses a symbol-based educational approach. Dyna Vox Mayer-Johnson developed the line of software. Free Boardmaker activities for autistic students can benefit kids in the classroom and at home.
What Does Boardmaker Offer?
The company specializes in augmentative devices that serve as vehicles for communication for people who have difficulty speaking or are unable to speak. Boardmaker is an educational software program that offers the following:
- Symbols and pictures
- Interactive activities
- Special education materials
- Change text materials to symbol materials
- Picture Communication Symbols (PCS)
- Materials can be used with Dyna Vox speech generating devices
Verbal and Nonverbal Students
Free Boardmaker activities for autistic students can benefit both verbal and nonverbal individuals. Some people with autism are not able to speak while others are verbal. Students who can talk may have some difficulty using language properly, especially if they use echolalic speech. Echolalia is the tendency to repeat memorized words and phrases that may come from movies, commercials or daily interactions.The problem with echolalic speech is that the phrases may not be meaningful to a specific situation. For example, a student may say, "Have a seat" to initiate conversation. Although the phrase may not be appropriate while on the playground, the child has made a connection between greeting and inviting someone to sit down. Boardmaker activities can help some students make the transition between echolalic speech and functional, meaningful communication.
Boardmaker Plus helps parents, therapists, teachers and speech pathologists create individualized activities catered to each student. This program offers the same printing and editing capabilities that Boardmaker does but it adds interactive, video, animation and sound. Activities that can be made by the software programs include:
- Assessment tools
- Printable books
- Sequencing activities
- Lesson plans
- Personalized images
Free Boardmaker Activities for Autistic Students
The possibilities are seemingly endless and this can make developing Boardmaker activities overwhelming. Following are some resources that offer examples and ideas that help make the most of the software program.
Dyna Vox Mayer-Johnson
Dyna Vox Mayer-Johnson has free downloads on its website. This is the best place to go for the most recent updates for the software program.
Boardmaker for Mac Computers
Those who use Macintosh computers can use Boardmaker. Picture SET has many printable activities as well as boards for download.
Speaking of Speech
Speaking of Speech is a wonderful resource for teachers and speech/language pathologists. The interactive forum allows participants to exchange ideas and materials, including Boardmaker activities.
Educators and Therapists
Your child's teachers and therapists may have access to free Boardmaker activities for autistic students. Make sure to discuss your interest in the software program with your child's treatment plan team. Some school districts may offer resources for the program.