During COVID19, our advocacy expanded to implementing the ADA requirement for Effective Communication to be provided by default in each state. This federal law is meant to accommodate Americans who have vision, hearing, or speech disabilities (“communication disabilities”) and use different ways to communicate. However, effective communication for autistic people may require closed captioning, and or time to communicate with someone who uses a communication board or device. Most affected are autistic adults who require communication support to access county benefits, state agency supports, medical care, education and employment.
If communication support is implemented, a law enforcement officer would be able to conference-call a specialist when they encounter an autistic person. The same default response should be applied to a client who is applying for benefits, is asking for accommodations from their boss or university, and a person who needs to engage with the DMV.
What is Communication Support?
1 — If a state employee accommodates the need for effective communication, they are also violating state law when they replicate the standards of the profession for speech, language, and hearing pathologist.
2 — Only a speech therapist is trained in social pragmatic language disorders as part of their mandatory degree requirements, and their overseeing body has already provisioned telehealth for shelter-in-place during COVID19.
Click here to follow actions taken in each state, and follow #communicationsupport https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/communicationsupport on FaceBook for calls to action.