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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

"Communication Impediment" on Texas Driver Licenses

[M]any police departments have trained officers and other first responders how to spot signs of autism and respond accordingly. Some organizations have also published identification cards that ASD adults can carry in order to defuse potential conflicts. Virginia provides for an autism designation on driver licenses and other state-issued identification cards. Once again, however, the dilemma of difference comes into play. One autistic Virginian worries: “Great, so if I get into an accident, who’s the cop going to believe, the guy with the autistic label or the guy without it?” Clinical psychologist Michael Oberschneider is concerned about the understanding level of first responders: “I think many people still think of Rain Man or, more recently, the Sandy Hook Shooter, when they think of autism even though very few people on the autistic spectrum are savants or are homicidal and dangerous.”
Isis Romero reports at KSAT-TV, San Antonio:
A San Antonio family is helping the Texas Department of Public Safety to launch an awareness campaign, about getting a special notice on the back of Texas driver's licenses, for those with speech impediments, autism, or other disabilities.
Sam Allen, and his mother Jennifer, are also working with the Texas DPS to train troopers and other law enforcement officials, on how to recognize and understand autistic drivers.
Sam was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a form of Autism, at the age of 10.

Although he's never been pulled over by law enforcement, Sam said he feels confident having the notice on the back of his license, if he ever does.

"I have kind of a safe feeling with me, knowing communication impediment with me on the back of my driver's license," Sam said.
From the Texas Department of Public Safety:
Texas Transportation Code §521.125 allows the Texas Department of Public Safety to include a notice on the driver license or identification card of those who indicate they have a health condition that may impede their ability to communicate with a peace officer.
The health condition must be supported by a written statement (Physician’s Statement form DL-101) from a licensed physician and presented at the driver license office before the communication impediment notice may be included on the back of the driver license or identification card.
From Aspergers101: