As part of planning for growing up and transition to adulthood, here are two key things to consider related to your autistic child and potential future interactions with law enforcement:
- Include education about the purpose and appropriate behaviors towards law enforcement personnel and agencies as part of IEP and other planning documents
- Check with your local first responders (police, fire, emergency medical, etc) about their level of awareness of autism and appropriate training in handling autistic citizens. Help these agencies improve their awareness and training, if needed.
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Law enforcement agencies in the 21st Century are embracing community policing and better education for their increasingly diverse workforce. There is also a growing interest in the global autism community to bring public awareness of autism and the people it affects to law enforcement professionals. As a parent of a young man with autism and reporter/researcher on this topic since 1991, I hope to bring you useful information about autism and the law enforcement community. Sharing critical autism recognition and response information with our law enforcement, first response, criminal justice and educational communities is my mission. The goal? Better community experiences for everyone.
A couple of key discussion points that Charles raises:
One of the truly remarkable statistics referenced in this report is that"[p]ersons with autism and other developmental disabilities are estimated to have up to seven times more contacts with law enforcement agencies during their lifetimes (Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services News In Print, Winter, 1993)." In view of the likelihood of contact between law enforcement and persons with disabilities, these guidelines should be considered in developing IEP goals, BIPs and transition plan goals.
The level of candor of this report is refreshing. It openly states in the training section for police that "[a]utism issues remain un-addressed in standard police officer training programs." … Moreover, one area of inquiry should be to your local police, fire and paramedics as to their level of autism training and awareness.
The main part of the report includes sections on What Families Can Do To Reduce Police Interactions and Information for Persons with Autism. The site also includes a Law Enforcement Handout.