First Bite #161 – August 31, 2021

Gaining a Voice on the Playground

(.1 ASHA and AOTA CEUs) For more info, click here.

Course Description

In this episode, Michelle is joined by Brianna Emanuel, MS CCC-SLP, from Appleton, WI to discuss how our profession can work collaboratively with community stakeholders to help our patient’s gain a voice on the playground! Brianna walks us through the steps she took in order to have an augmentative communication board constructed at her local inclusive playground. Michelle and Brianna transition into discussing functional strategies to obtain stakeholder buy-in to implement total communication access within the local education agency, and wrap it up with the joy of celebrating lessons learned from their initial AAC challenges. If you have ever visited a local park and thought it was missing that vital AAC board, but you didn’t know how to get started, well Michelle and Brianna are here to jump-start your inspiration into action!


By the end of this PodCourse, participants will be able to identify and describe:

  • The steps involved in obtaining and constructing a communication board at an adaptive playground.
  • 3 successful strategies to obtain stakeholder buy-in for utilizing a total communication method within a local education agency.
  • 3 common pitfalls and how to successfully navigate these when first working with augmentative and alternative communication devices.


Brianna Emanuel, M.S. CCC-SLP

Brianna Emanuel, M.S. CCC-SLP, grew up in Appleton, WI and currently resides there with her husband and puppy. Brianna attended the University of Wisconsin Madison for her undergraduate degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders and completed her master’s degree in Speech Pathology at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. While getting her Masters, Brianna was a teaching assistant for the introductory class to Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and was the graduate assistant lab manager for the AAC lab. She was the contact person for all students and staff who had questions or difficulties with technology. She has knowledge regarding programming, maintaining, backing-up, resetting, and problem-solving issues on 15+ communication devices and applications.

Brianna actively communicated with representatives and technology experts from top vendors for communication devices (Talk To Me Technologies, Tobii Dynavox, AssistiveWare, etc.). While employed by her local school district, Brianna teamed up with her local Parks and Recreation department to place a core and fringe communication board at a local handicap accessible park. Brianna has a passion for kids with disabilities ever since growing up with a mother who has a physical disability restricting her to a wheelchair. Brianna’s passion for children and helping others “have a voice” has shown in the early years of her career.