Susan's Blog

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Smart ALEC

“Knowledge is good.”
–Emil T. Faber, Faber College

Something I would like to recommend to all of you: meet with your police community relations people to exchange information on autism spectrum and your public safety needs. Some police forces and first responders are already doing ALEC trainings around issues to do with autism and best approaches, etc. Dennis Debbaudt was instrumental in creating the ALEC training. He is a former cop and a dad to a guy on the spectrum, so he knows from where he speaks. (He is also a fun and inspiring public speaker. We have presented at several of the same conferences.)

Last night our autism parents coalition (another recommendation to autism parents: organize, organize, organize. There is strength in numbers and if you are not getting the services you or your child needs, bring a group to your local Board of Ed or School Committee. Trust me, nothing gets their attention more than a large group of enthusiastic citizens!) met with the Brookline police, who have already had the ALEC training, for more of a personal autism information exchange. Ned and two other parents told stories of run-ins with the police and their ASD children, and the cops commented and advised, and then we parents asked a lot of questions. There were parents of kids of all forms of ASD, and all ages. One family even brought up their fears for their black autistic son, vis a vis potential racial misperceptions. I talked about ASD and some kids’ tendencies to touch themselves or others inappropriately, just to make the police aware of the whole potential Sex Offender nightmare. Others talked about the fear to call for help, because they did not want their child removed to a psych ward or hospital.

The main lesson that came out of this night was that the more info we ASD parents and citizens can get to the police for their convenient reference (info like: photos, preferences, “hates sirens; loves bodies of water; hates the color yellow; will not tolerate the word ‘not;'” motivators, hiding places, strategies for approach) the better off we will be if, God forbid, there is bolting or some other incident. Knowledge is good.

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