NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Jan. 30, 2024) – The Lacey PAC Adaptive Movement Center in New Philadelphia is helping make Tuscora Park easier to navigate for special needs children and adults.
There was an unveiling ceremony Monday morning with community leaders for the two communication boards that have been installed at the park.
Center CEO Lacey Herbert-Stephen says these boards are about 5×8 feet in size, low to the ground, and covered in graphics representing expressions and images from the park that non-verbal children and adults can point at to better communicate their wants, needs, and feelings.
Herbert-Stephen says Lightning Signs produced the boards for her and helped with the cost.
“We wanted to make it big enough to where you could see it good, it wasn’t too cluttered, and that it wasn’t too big and overbearing,” Herbert-Stephen said.
Herbert-Stephen says her five-year-old autistic son was an inspiration for this.
“When we go to the park, my son Cash and I always kind of get in a tussle because he can’t tell me when he’s ready to leave, or if he doesn’t like to play on some equipment and he wants to go somewhere else,” she said. “So, we always end up leaving early, and we always end up leaving frustrated, and it just kind of came to me that this could be maybe something that would help that.”
Herbert-Stephen started researching the signs after learning how attractions in other states were utilizing them.
“I went to the Tuscora Park Board, and they were amazing, and they supported the project right away and thought that it would be a great idea,” she said, “It took about two and a half months to do because I wanted to make sure that it was exactly what Tuscora Park had to offer.”
She says one of these signs is located at the young children’s playground near the parking lot and the other one is close to the carousel. The signs are printed in English on the front and Spanish on the back.