Speech-language pathologist Lauren Papke and her colleagues from Jacksonville, Florida’s Wolfson Children’s Hospital took Boardmaker software along when they went to Haiti in October for a weeklong medical mission. It sure is nice that our products had a small yet important role in the intervention services that the group (which also included occupational and physical therapists) provided for children with special needs in the impoverished country. We were especially touched by this email and the photos from the trip Lauren later sent us via Justin Bytautus and Chris Kovach from our sales team. Lauren’s message and actions echoes our promise to keep the power of communication on for everyone, everywhere!

Subject: FW: Boardmaker in Haiti

Hi Justin,

Here are some pictures from my Haiti trip!

haiti2My group traveled to Jacmel, Haiti to visit an orphanage for disabled children called Wings of Hope.  The children at Wings of Hope had a variety of diagnoses including cerebral palsy, down syndrome, intellectual disabilities, and autism.  When I began my education on the use of picture symbols the staff said that another team had brought similar pictures years ago.  Since the staff had no way to reproduce the symbols, once they became worn, they discontinued use of this form of communication.  They were very excited to learn that they had full access to the pictures now that they had the software downloaded to an employee’s personal computer.  I trained several of the caregivers on how to create communication boards as well behavioral and teaching supports.  Further education included determining what number of pictures to include in the visual field and when you would print on a page versus affixing with Velcro.   The child pictured below is a young man, Teddy, who has CP.  His caregivers told me that he is “very smart, but can only communicate by making happy or sad sounds.”  When presented with the communication board he immediately demonstrated communication intent and repeated reached for “music” as he enjoys to sing (make sounds).

I really think that Boardmaker will make a huge impact in these children’s lives as many of them have no other means to communicate basic wants and needs.  I am so grateful for your generous contribution to our mission!  Please feel free to use the pictures and story in any way you see fit to promote your product and spread awareness.  Let me know if you have any additional questions.


Lauren Papke, MS, CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist, Autism Program Lead

Wolfson Children’s Hospital Rehabilitation

By Patti Murphy

Meet the board makers of yesterday, today and tomorrow.










  • Parents who created picture communication books that their children used for self-expression.  The ongoing process involved photocopying multiple pages of Picture Communication Symbols (PCS) to keep the book, or binder, current with the child’s language needs. Then kids had early augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices with recorded speech and changeable paper overlays. Mom or dad photocopied, then colored, cut and pasted each PCS symbol to the overlay. Some repeated the process for a second overlay for school so their child had the language they needed all day long. With the early 1990s debut of Boardmaker page creation software, this could all be done by computer instead of by hand. Parents thought they died and went to heaven.
  • School teams who rally students to success despite limitations. Over time, speech therapists, teachers and aides came to rely on all things Boardmaker to create worksheets and activities in a format compatible with a student’s language, learning and physical abilities. Eventually the software had animation and audio for meaningful multimedia learning materials. The whole class liked it. Boardmaker made learning fun, especially when it came to difficult or boring subject matter.
  • The 200,000-plus members of the online Boardmaker sharing community. In recent years, they’ve become each other’s best resource when it comes to sharing tips and ideas for using the software for daily on-the-spot learning solutions.

Parents and professional have made Boardmaker a staple for nurturing better learning experiences for their students, sons and daughters over the past 20 years.  Like all good tools, it has become more accessible and adaptable with the passage of time. And through each change, it has remained powerful and beloved.

And now, just in time for another school year, board makers past and present can step into a new era with their old favorite tool. You could always do a lot with it and you can do way more now that Boardmaker Online is here.

“If you only had one tool in your toolkit, it should be Boardmaker Online.” Rhode Island speech-language pathologist Deborah B. told us.

A subscription to Boardmaker Online lets you use the software anytime from anywhere with an Internet connection to create, find, play, assign, print and organize learning materials. While you’re at it, you can use Boardmaker Online to easily track student progress toward IEP goals and educational standards. It is indeed a complete solution with unlimited possibilities.

Want to learn more about Boardmaker Online? Watch the Boardmaker Online Explainer Video, trial it FREE for 30-days, and attend a FREE online training!

Boardmaker—and board makers—have come full circle. And it’s only the beginning.