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(UK) Renfrewshire: 6 parks to install "autism-friendly communication boards"

Feb 28, 2022, (Scotland) Daily Record: Autism-friendly communication boards to be installed at six Renfrewshire parks to help kids express feelings

Signs that help kids with conditions like autism communicate their feelings are to be installed at six parks in Renfrewshire. Elected members showed their full support for a motion put forward by Councilor Karen Devine-Kennedy at the end of last year which asked local authority bosses to look at putting the boards in place in play areas. And officers appear to have moved quickly on the issue and are proposing to install them in Paisley, Johnstone, Renfrew, Howwood and Linwood by the end of April. The boards will be designed to support children with neurodivergent conditions including autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, dyspraxia, Tourette's and Asperger's syndrome, and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). They will have a number of images and symbols on them that will help kids who struggle to express their emotions do this more easily and will be particularly helpful to those who are non-verbal. The boards are set to be installed at Barshaw and Glencoats parks in Paisley, Thomas Shanks Park in Johnstone, Robertson Park in Renfrew, Kintyre Park in Linwood and Howwood Park. In advance, council chiefs are planning to hold talks with teachers and parents at Riverbrae School - for kids with additional support needs - in Linwood to ensure the signs are consistent with tools being used there. Councillor Devine-Kennedy, whose son is autistic, said: "I am delighted officers have moved quickly on this because it's much-needed…. For example, one board might specifically relate to a visit to a play park while another might be more about feelings or help children to convey a series of steps to follow to their parents or carers. Council bosses are also in dialogue with neurodivergent community specialists to design boards with symbols that will be relevant to parks. The boards will be trialled to see what community response there is and feedback will be discussed during summer ahead of a planned wider roll-out. A sample of the communication boards will be issued to parents and teachers in advance of production to ensure the signs chosen will be effective.


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