Public Info

Union County Introduces Mobile Communication Board to Enhance Accessibility for Non-Verbal Children

In recognition of Autism Acceptance Month, the Union County Board of County Commissioners is pleased to announce the launch of a Mobile Communication Board, an initiative from the Office of Open Space, Recreation & Historic Preservation Trust Fund. Developed to promote communication and interaction for non-verbal children, this innovative resource highlights Union County’s commitment to inclusivity and accessibility.

“Autism Acceptance Month is a key time to raise awareness about autism spectrum disorders and promote acceptance, understanding, and appreciation of individuals on the spectrum,” said Union County Commissioner Chairwoman Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded. “Increasing our understanding of autism spectrum disorder gives us the opportunity to promote a culture of empathy and inclusivity within our community. The introduction of the Mobile Communication Board reflects our dedication to empowering individuals with communication needs, allowing everyone to fully participate in county-wide events and activities. I cannot wait to see the Mobile Communication Board in operation, providing a platform for individuals who may not always possess the capability to verbalize their thoughts.”

A communication board is a vital tool utilized by individuals with speech and language impairments, including those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. These boards feature symbols, pictures, or words that individuals can point to or touch to convey their thoughts when verbal communication is challenging. For children on the autism spectrum who may experience difficulties with language, a communication board allows them to express themselves effectively, encouraging social engagement and connection.

In 2023, communication boards were installed in Warinanco Park in Roselle, Mattano Park in Elizabeth, Ponderosa Park in Scotch Plains, and Nomahegan Park in Cranford. These permanently installed boards provide consistent accessibility for individuals with communication challenges.  The new Mobile Communication Board can be transported to various county events, ensuring a welcoming and accommodating environment, no matter their communication needs.

“The communication boards we installed last year have been instrumental in creating a universal language for all children to play together – regardless of ability – and we are excited to expand their reach by introducing mobile boards at various county events,” said Commissioner Sergio Granados, Chairman of the Union County Open Space Trust Fund. “These boards will not only provide opportunities for both nonverbal and verbal children to interact and play together, but they will also cultivate inclusive spaces for our entire resident population. It is a perfect way for our children to engage socially, enriching their educational and recreational experiences, while promoting understanding and compassion within our community.”

For more information about these boards, please contact Victoria Durbin Drake at 908-558-2278 or To learn more about events and activities for children and adults with special needs, please contact the Union County Office for Persons with Disabilities & Special Needs at (908) 527-4807.