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. Training could help.
In Graham, several years ago when a severely autistic 19-year-old man was confronted and struggled with police, police used a stun gun on him and took him to jail.
But in many cases, advocates say the person police are trying to communicate with simply may not understand what they're being told to do.
The Aransas Pass Police Department is in the process of bringing in trainer Dustin Cronan in order to help its officers navigate those barriers.
Cronan has lived with autism his whole life and hopes to help police and other first responders recognize and communicate with people on the autism spectrum, and others who have other disabilities.
"I've seen others had experiences, too, with them," he said. "Having rundowns with them. Like, say, when we get stopped, or we get pulled over or anything like that, they think we're intoxicated."
Cronan has held training sessions for multiple law enforcement groups in Nueces county. When he addresses Aransas Pass police, it will be the first such session in San Patricio County.