In The Politics of Autism, I discuss interactions between first responders and autistic people. Police officers need training to respond appropriately. When they do not, things get out of hand.
Delays in processing are a common symptom of autism, which affects 1 in 68 children. So is avoiding eye contact, poor conversation skills and sometimes the inability to communicate at all.
“What we don’t want teachers or law enforcement officers to do is misconstrue that symptom of autism as being evasive or disrespectful or lying,” said Michael Kelley, director of the Scott Center for Autism Treatment at the Florida Institute of Technology.
The Scott Center held its first training session for Brevard County officers Wednesday morning at the Eastern Florida State College Melbourne campus. Teachers, parents and officers from six agencies across the county turned out to learn how to recognize the symptoms of autism and respond appropriately.