Search This Blog

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Autism Decals in Miami-Dade

 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. 

Chris Hush at WTJV-TV:
A new program in Miami-Dade County aims to save lives through a simple decal. The initiative will alert first responders to potential interactions with residents living with autism.

Approved last week by the Miami Dade County Commission, the decal is meant to be placed at the front door of a home or a car window to notify police officers and firefighters of a potential interaction with a resident living with autism.

The decal reads, “Occupant with autism, may not respond to verbal commands.”

Dr. Diane Adreon with the University of Miami’s Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) says the decals can aid in the training of law enforcement officers.

“There’s so many nuances that people could really not know how to react, and they could take their behaviors the wrong way,” said Dr. Adreon. “It gives people with autism or family members an opportunity to safely disclose the disability in a circumstance where they may be interacting with law enforcement.”

When it launches in April, Miami-Dade residents will be able to pick up the free decal from their local Miami-Dade Police station.

District 7 Commissioner Raquel Regalado says there are plans for the county to partner with agencies in other municipalities, to expand the program. She also believes this program will free up county resources.

North Miami launched a similar decal and autism outreach program in 2022 following the 2016 incident when a man with autism was shot at by a police officer after the toy truck he was holding was mistaken for a gun.  [Ed. note:  the police shot the black man who was caring for the autistic person.]