Berkshire Autistic Society
As the growing number of children with autism become adults, a broader understanding of the disorder and individuals affected by it will be critical to safe and successful interactions within the community at large, as well as in emergency situations.
Autism ALERT’s Mission
Autism ALERT, Inc. strives to encourage a strong and purposeful partnership between individuals with autism and their caregivers, first responders, and the communities in which they live. Our mission is three-fold: (1) Educate first responders and health care professionals on how to recognize and interact with persons on the autism spectrum, (2) Train caregivers on how to prepare for emergencies and prevent tragedies, and (3) Develop and promote community partnerships. Read more.
ALEC (Autism & Law Enforcement Education Coalition)
ALEC provides training to First Responders and Court Room Personnel so that they are able to recognize situations involving children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders. See their Facebook page.
From Autism Speaks :
Quick Facts for Law Enforcement
- Interacting with a child or adult who has an autism spectrum disorder will challenge your experience and training.
- You will hear terms such as low functioning/high-functioning autism and Asperger’s Disorder to identify the level of their condition. In most cases, the person will have difficulties following verbal commands, reading your body language, and have deficits in social understanding.
- Law enforcement agencies should proactively train their sworn workforce, especially trainers, patrol supervisors, and school resource officers, to recognize the behavioral symptoms and characteristics of a child or adult who has autism, and learn basic response techniques.
- A training program should be designed to allow officers to better protect and serve the public and make the best use of your valuable time, and avoid mistakes that can lead to lawsuits and negative media scrutiny, loss of confidence from the community, morale problems, and lifelong trauma for all involved.
- A good autism recognition and response workshop is designed to inform law enforcement professionals about the risks associated with autism, and offers suggestions and options about how to address those risks.
Debbaudt, D. (2003 second edition) Managing Autism Safety, Advocate p.29