As autism awareness grows in the public consciousness, lawmakers are taking notice of just how important it is to keep autistics safe.
In the state of Alabama, a new law was just passed requiring the distribution of special autism identification cards. Much like a medical ID bracelet, these cards let first responders and others know that a person has autism.
Since people on the autistic spectrum get overwhelmed easily, flashing lights and sirens can be too much for them to cope with at times. Showing an ID card which spells out their disorder can clear up the confusion caused by their communication difficulty and their unawareness of social cues.
Situations involving police and emergency vehicles can rattle anyone when it is unexpected. Since those on the autistic spectrum prefer order and familiarity, loud noises and bright lights can be an especially upsetting disruption to their routine.
“Sometimes they’re not making eye contact and that can seem disrespectful, or their speech is jumbled and they’re not making sense and that can seem like they’re under the influence,” said behavioral analyst Lindsey Chapman in an interview with WHNT news.
The identification cards can help officers and medical professionals know how to best respond in an emergency when it involves a person with autism. This includes getting the proper treatment they need and how to diffuse a potentially distressing situation. Identification also helps reunite lost and confused children with their parents.
Autism advocates in the Tennessee Valley area are championing this new initiative. Those involved in the cause such as Chapman is excited to see that legislation like this passed in the state of Alabama, which shows that people are paying more attention to issues involving patients with special needs.
The government in Alabama is required to distribute autism ID cards on request, though autistic individuals are not required to have them. Use of the cards is however recommended for those in need.
To receive an autism identification card, signup is required. To apply for one, visit the Autism Society of Alabama’s website.