The Police Need to Understand Autism

A 14-year-old Arizona boy’s terrifying experience underscores that officers should be trained on how to recognize people on the spectrum.


Today with so much news about actions of police officers it is important for education on people that have some kind of mental illness. My anxiety issues get ramped up going through the TSA lines due to the fact I have a routine in how I pack and dress to comply with the rules. When my routine is questioned I can become very anxious when the officer has control over my life for a few minutes. This has happened when pulled over by the police at times as well. I have a card that I printed off the Asperger Autism network that I carry behind my driver’s license. I can give this card to an officer. For example, it points I may panic if yelled at, and lash out if touched or physically restrained. I would like to cooperate. To help me do so, please speak to me in normal, calm, non-confrontational tones. The card lists 12 items the officer can use to better when working with people with autism. I know that community policing is big on getting to know the people and the organizations that work with folks on the spectrum.