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Monday, December 5, 2022

Autism ID Cards in Alabama

In The Politics of Autism, I write:

[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]
Yesterday's post involved autism windshield decals in Florida.  Here is a related story from Alabama;

Leada Gore at
Alabamians who have a diagnosis that falls within the autism disorder spectrum have access to a special identification card.

Alabama has created and implemented the first state-recognized Autism Identification Card in the U.S. The cards, distributed by county health departments, can assist with interactions with first responders and law enforcement officers during potentially stressful situations, such as a traffic stop.

Wording on the card explains that the holder falls within in the autism spectrum and may have difficulty communicating or understanding directions. The card also states that the person could become agitated if touched because of his or her medical conditions.