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What Boardmaker Means to Me

by Melissa Stark, M.S.Ed March 11, 2019

What Boardmaker means to me

Growing up I think I always knew I was meant to be a teacher, but it was not until I was in college that I truly found my calling; working with students with significant special needs. I still remember sitting in a communications class in college and not even knowing what autism was. That was a long time ago...

This is now...

As a teacher, I spend my waking moments dreaming of how to make my students, families and support staff’s lives easier and more enriched. From my days as a teacher assistant to my time as a Special Education Teacher and Disability Manager, one of my big tools of the trade has always been Boardmaker. The reason is simple... everyone deserves a voice. Everyone deserves to be heard. Boardmaker puts this the palm of your hand.

What Boardmaker means to me

I still remember my first Boardmaker CD. I think I erased some of the symbols. I was not very good, but I wanted my students to have pictures to support their communication. One of the common misconceptions about Boardmaker is that the pictures are only line based drawings. I love how I can customize the color, shapes, size, and pictures for each individualize student. I made schedules for my students, labels for the classrooms and Words walls. It was like a whole new universe had opened up.

Boardmaker even works on significant others! When I wanted to get engaged, made a visual schedule for my now husband. Less than six months later we were engaged and are now married. Communication wins!

What Boardmaker means to me

Boardmaker has evolved so much over the years. I now can use online interactive activities with my students, take data on IEP goals, as well as share resources with colleagues and people I do not even know but have taught me new things. My students have learned to read and write using the adaptations and visual supports I have made them from Boardmaker. I love that I can develop lessons from the resources on the Boardmaker Online account. The addition of the new curriculum, Boardmaker Activities-to-Go, is so helpful with its differentiated activities on various topics.

If you had asked me years ago if this is where I would be, I probably would have said, “No!” but I am so thankful to have Boardmaker along for the ride!

Melissa Stark, M.S.Ed
Melissa Stark, M.S.Ed

Melissa Stark is a special education teacher for New York City’s Department of Education District 75. She has taught students with a range of disabilities and communication profiles in classroom and home settings. Melissa will be presenting this summer on “Technologically Applying the Communication Bill of Rights to All Learners” at the International Society for Technology in Education in Philadelphia.


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