In The Politics of Autism, I discuss interactions between police and autistic people. When cops encounter autistic people they may not respond in the same way as NT people, and things can get out of hand. Among other things, they may misinterpret autistic behavior as aggressive or defiant, and respond with tasers, batons, chokeholds, or worse.
Posts have discussed incidents in the following places:
- Richmond, VA
- Jackson County, KS
- Glynn County, GA
- Douglas County, CO
- Graymoor-Devondale, KY
- Vacaville, CA
- Metrairie, LA
- Salt Lake City
- Statesville, NC
- Buckeye, AZ
This list is not exhaustive. Indeed, it does not even scratch the surface.
Police training could be helpful, but we also need programs to evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of the training.
Some members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department participated in an immersive experience to prepare themselves to better handle people with autism and developmental disabilities when on a call for service.
The training was put together by the city of Industry, along with Kate Movius of Autism Interaction Solutions. Movius has first-hand experience because her own son is on the spectrum.
"If there's one thing you take away from the training today it is that you take your time, if it's tactically permissible, and safe for you, to slow way down," said Movius.
Kits that included items such as noise-canceling ear muffs and white boards were given to participants to help them better communicate with someone with autism.
People living with autism also spoke and gave testimonials on their interactions with law enforcement.