COMHAIRLE CONTAE ÁTHA CLIATH THEAS
SOUTH DUBLIN COUNTY COUNCIL

MEETING OF SOUTH DUBLIN COUNTY COUNCIL

Monday, September 14, 2020

QUESTION NO. 28

QUESTION: Councillor F. Timmons

To ask the Chief Executive if the Council has plans to looks at communication boards for children with speech, language and communication needs in all the playgrounds and playspaces throughout the county and how this could be funded? ‘

At South Dublin County Council we are committed to equality, inclusion and providing services that are accessible to the whole community’ (https://www.sdcc.ie/en/services/our-council/policies-and-plans/disability-access/). ‘Communication accessibility’ is generally overlooked in public policy. SDCoCo is home to 4 Specialist Disability Services and over 65 schools/preschools providing education to children who have communication difficulties linked to Specific Language Disorder, Intellectual Disability or Autism. Public parks & playgrounds are a lifeline to these children and their families, never more so than during the current COVID 19 pandemic. The Speech & Language Therapy Dept at Cheeverstown would like to SDCoCo to consider the installation of communication boards in all public playgrounds, as has been recently done by Wexford CoCo (template has been shared with the SLT Dept). True inclusion is not something that most of these families experience – it would be wonderful for them to see that their children are recognised as citizens of this county

REPLY:

The Council is supportive in general of measures that would increase the accessibility and inclusivity of our playgrounds and are currently evaluating the level of need for the communication boards. We have contacted our Disability Officer and her fellow Access Officers around the country and also the Special Projects Team responsible for the playground at Min Ryan Park in Wexford.

In addition, we have contacted a speech and language therapist who submitted the recent information on the communication boards, who has us information on how the proposal relates particularly to playgrounds.

We understand that many children who have this need have their own communication cards but may not always need to have them with them.  In some cases, children who have a mild or moderate disability can become unable to concentrate in a playground as it can be an overstimulating environment. In such cases the boards would help the children and parents to maintain communication and allow the child to continue using the playground.

The Council intend investigating the feasibility of installing a communication board in the upgrade of the new Corkagh Park Playground, which is commencing shortly, on a pilot basis.  We can examine feedback from parents / children before considering their further roll out.