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Way to Go! Garden City student helps children communicate

Lindsey Stevenson, a senior at Garden City High

Lindsey Stevenson, a senior at Garden City High School, created a Communication Station Core Board for the district's Homestead School. Credit: Garden City School District

A Garden City High School student is making communication more accessible for children.

Lindsey Stevenson, a senior, has created a Communication Station Core Board for children at Homestead School, the district primary school she attended. The board displays 35 visual icons that represent an assortment of actions, emotions and needs to help youngsters with complex communication needs interact with their peers and teachers.

She pursued the 80-hour project as part of her Gold Award, the highest achievement within the Girl Scouts of the USA.

"Through my research I discovered that students with disabilities have even less opportunities to communicate with their peers," Stevenson said. "I wanted to help fix this."

Stevenson was inspired to investigate the topic based on her involvement in a program called Promoting Acceptance and Inclusion through Recreation in Schools (known as PAIRS), which is designed to help students at the high school make friends and feel included. She also received support from guidance counselor Jim Malone and his wife, Diane, who provided funding through the Jamie and Paige Malone Foundation.

Garden City officials said that plans are in the works to have the communication boards installed at the district's other schools.

"This is a wonderful example of a student who took something on that they learned through our schools to make us even better," Garden City Superintendent Kusum Sinha said.

— MICHAEL R. EBERT

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