Champion Central Elementary School has a new addition to its playground.

It's called a communication board and it's designed to give Trumbull County ESC students who attend Champion and are non-verbal or have communication barriers, a way to talk to other students or teachers while outside at recess.

"We're always trying to meet students where they are, and that includes all environments, not just classrooms, so by bringing the board out here, it enables the students to communicate with their peers and with their teachers, in a way that wasn't previously available," Christy Pompoco, Special Education Director for Champion Local Schools said.

The communication board contains core words and other vocabulary just like what they use on their communication devices.

"The symbols you see on the board are symbols that many of our students use in school, so they're familiar, they use them at home and in their family environments," Pompoco said. "This allows them to play with their peers a little bit instead of gesturing or pulling."

Third grader Ethan Urmson saw it for the first time and was able to tell teachers he wanted to swing.

"It was awesome to see him look at it and use it immediately and know what to do," Tanya Romanini, TCESC Speech Pathologist said. I feel like he's definitely going to feel empowered to now come out and do what everybody else is doing and to just be able to communicate with his peers in a way that he hasn't been able to do before."

Along with a sense of empowerment, the board is also designed to give those students more independence when they can't carry around their devices.

"It helps reduce anxiety," Romanini said. "A lot of times if they're not able to communicate, it can help with meltdowns or things of that nature. So it really just helps them be more like everybody else and communicate."