Castlemilk schoolgirl creates Glasgow’s first Autism-Friendly logo

A Glasgow schoolgirl has created the first Autism-Friendly logo for the city.

Nicola Johnston, a P7 pupil at St John Paul II Primary in Castlemilk, who has autism, designed the logo which was selected from over 180 entries from schools across Glasgow.

Glasgow City Council has been working with a range of partner organisations over the past year to make the city centre the first autism-friendly city centre in the UK. Nicola's logo - which will go on display at the Gallery of Modern Art alongside the other entries - will identify which locations in the city centre are Autism-Friendly.

The winning design will now become the 'go-to' sign for visitors who may require additional support while enjoying Glasgow city centre. The logo will be given to all participating businesses and used in a variety of ways including being displayed in the form of window stickers to show autism-aware venues, and as badges for their nominated champions or trained staff.

Nicola said: "Well, I felt quite happy when I found out I had won and felt quite proud as well. It will be awesome to know that people will understand autism more."

The exhibition of the logo designs will be on display at the Gallery of Modern Art's Gallery Four from 2-11 February. Glasgow city centre attracts around 55million visits every year, and is one of the UK's top destinations for work, leisure and shopping. Just over 1% of the UK's population is affected by autism, and ensuring that Glasgow city centre is autism-friendly will further underline its reputation as an inclusive and family-friendly location.

The council is working with the business community, Autism Network Scotland and other organisations to develop these proposals, with an initial focus on high footfall locations such as shopping centres, transport hubs, museums, cinemas and key operational staff across the city centre.

Nicola's logo was selected by a panel which included Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, Councillor Chris Cunningham, City Convenor for Education, Skills and Early Years at Glasgow City Council, Lynsey Stewart from Autism Network Scotland, Anne Ledgerwood, Chair of the City Centre Retail Association, Janice Fisher, Joint Chair of Greater Glasgow Hoteliers Association and Jody Wilkinson, Public Engagement Coordinator at Glasgow Film Theatre.

Glasgow has five key objectives which will help to deliver an autism-friendly city centre:

  • Customer Experience - promote good customer care and help create a positive customer experience;
  • Customer Information - provide useful information and guidance for any challenges that may arise for autistic people;
  • Staff Training - greater awareness and effective training allowing staff to be more confident in their approach to individual situations;
  • Physical Environment - working within the limits of businesses' physical environment to make reasonable and appropriate adaptations; and
  • Promoting Understanding - organisations to be involved in raising awareness, promoting greater understanding by sharing information with the wider visitor base.

Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council and the City Convener for Inclusive Economic Growth, said: "I am delighted that Nicola's fantastic design has been selected as the Autism-Friendly logo for Glasgow. It is a logo that everyone can recognise, and will help to ensure that the attractions of our city centre are accessible for everyone in Glasgow and our visitors."

Source: Glasgow City Council