[M]any police departments have trained officers and other first responders how to spot signs of autism and respond accordingly.[i] 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.”[ii]
A new program created by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office lets emergency responders know that there is a person with autism involved.
This new initiative features a decal that residents in Orange County can use to let deputies know.
The decals will remind deputies to use their autism training, as the person in the home or car may not speak, respond to or comply with verbal commands.
They may also have no awareness of danger.
OSCO is giving these decals out for free.
Decals can be placed near the front door of your house or on the rear window of your car.
\To learn more and register for the program, you can visit www.ocso.com/autism.