Lions And Zoos

Akron Zoo adds communication boards for non-verbal visitors learning English

The Akron Zoo is adding new augmentative and alternative communication, or AAC, boards for visitors who are nonverbal, low-speaking, or learning a language to use to communicate.

The board was designed specifically for the Akron Zoo by Inspire Connections Therapy, a Twinsburg-based company that provides speech therapy services to pediatric clients. Visitors use the board by hovering over icons to communicate with others.

Icons include animals, park areas, frequently asked questions, frequently used phrases, letters, numbers, colors, and short words, all with images that match the words.

Visitors can access the chart for free by requesting a copy at the ticket office or viewing it on the zoo’s website. A board will also be available in each sensory bag in the zoo.

To view or print the chart, visit, scroll down, and click the turquoise “Akron Zoo AAC” button.

The Akron Zoo launched its Sensory Inclusion Program in 2017 and was the second zoo in the nation and the first in Ohio to be certified sensory-inclusive.

The zoo has weighted floor mats and sensory bags available at checkout at its Visitor Center front desk at no charge by leaving a form of guarantee. The sensory bags have fidget tools, noise canceling headphones and the AAC card.

The zoo has also designated “quiet zones”, in the Andean condor habitat, outside the Galapagos tortoise habitat, at the Grizzly Ridge lookout and on the terrace of the Lehner Family Zoo Gardens. , and “helmet zones” that are usually noisy or crowded, including Madagascar. Circle, Carousel Square, Komodo Kingdom Education Center, Otter Slide Area, Pride of Africa Train Depot and the area near the Lions and Misters and Wild Asia Square and the treehouse area.

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Contact Beacon Journal reporter Emily Mills at[email protected] and on Twitter @EmilyMills818.