Anger as autism communication board defaced in Peterborough

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Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 65
Gender: Male
Posts: 29,712
Location: Long Island, New York

27 Jul 2022, 8:10 am

Peterborough Telegraph

The board was only installed in the last two weeks and was paid for by Bretton ward councillors Chaz Fenner, Chris Burbage and Scott Warren with the CLF (Community Leadership Fund); given to each councillor to support worthy causes in their ward.

The board allows people with autism, or any other neurological condition which means they have difficulty communicating, the chance to point to images to correspond with how they are feeling to help them communicate with the people around them.

On Sunday (July 24), however, the board was found to have been vandalised and all of the symbols scribbled over, leaving Councillor Fenner extremely frustrated. .

He said: “I was absolutely livid. Visibility and having means to support inclusion is really important and I am all for it.

"The boards are a fantastic idea and they can be used by anyone and not just those with autism.

"I have reported this to the council and have been told that the boards are coated in a special varnish that should allow the marks to be wiped off, depending on what they were made with. I hope it can be put right as soon as possible.”

Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman

Mona Pereth

Joined: 11 Sep 2018
Gender: Female
Posts: 5,834
Location: New York City (Queens)

28 Jul 2022, 7:32 pm

I wonder why this board was called an "autism communication board" rather than, say, a "non-speaking communication board"? After all, as the article notes, not every autistic person is non-speaking, and not every non-speaking person is autistic. "Non-speaking communication board" would be a much more accurate term for the board's purpose.

Of course, regardless of what the board is called, I hope whoever defaced it gets caught.

EDIT: An important question: To what extent are this and similar boards actually useful to non-speakers? Hopefully actual non-speakers have been consulted about the design of these boards?

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