What Is It Like to be Autistic?


There is a law enforcement response training for police officers (ALERT), organized by Stephanie Cooper in Florida and Louisiana. Looks like Los Angeles supported this initiative and arranged a test for Sheriff’s deputies. A group of LA Sherieff’s deputies took an easy 60 seconds quiz. The questions were simple, like “Who was the first President of the United States?”, “What does UFO stand for?”, etc. However, participants were wearing 3D glasses, those who used to write with his right hand should be writing with his left hand, and vice versa. They were distracted with loud music and noises. At the end of the quiz, deputies summarized that they knew the answers but they simply couldn’t write them…

“That was just a hint of what it’s like to be autistic”, said Kate Movius of Autism Interaction Solutions, who included the quiz in a recent training session at a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s substation. “Imagine you felt like that all the time. Imagine if somebody asked you, “Where do you live?” and you know exactly where you live, and you can’t get the words out,” she told the deputies.

“It’s very easy with those with autism to misunderstand them and think they’re either being stubborn, belligerent, rude or noncompliant,” said Movius. “These are the four adjectives that often get applied.”

Amid increased public scrutiny of law enforcement tactics, some Southern California agencies – including the LAPD, the Orange Police Department, the Los Angeles School Police Department and others – have started specialized training to help officers read the signs of autism and respond appropriately. For example, there might be call to the police office, reporting about someone walking down the street and looking into car windows. It might be a car burglar looking for things to steal, or it could be a person with autism, fascinating with something that attracted his attention. Autistic people can answer affirmatively to some officer’s questions like “Are you on drugs?”, and he’d recently taken aspirin. They can have “meltdowns”, overreact on something, etc.
That’s why it’s very important to train officers not to accept them as a threat to their lives, as well as it’s very important to train officials to provide appropriate services to those individuals who have autism.

Such trainings and initiatives, help to raise autism awareness and recognize people with autism, understand their symptoms and accept them. As one 8-year old girl said, “Autism is just my ingredient”, “I’m not a label. I’m Cadence”…

Read more: http://www.scpr.org/news/2016/10/11/65502/training-law-enforcement-to-deal-with-autistic-peo/