J & J’s Gibberish: Cops and Autistics

One mother's weekly journey in raising her special needs children. 

So, anyone with a special needs kids at one point or another has probably had a situation where cops have been contacted about your kid’s meltdowns or activities.  It is almost a rite of passage.

What is really impressive is how cops can respond to a situation.   We have had one or two incidents that are quite funny (will spare you the details) and what was great was how the cops were fantastic.  In the end, all they cared about was that Jacob was safe, which of course he was.  But I was with him.

I do wonder what will happen when (and I think it is a when not if)  my son melts down in public and a parent or friend  is not around and a cop is faced with an out-of-control kid.  In fairness, there can be a lack of understanding of an autistic person’s behaviour.  There was a great book called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time that touched on it.  A kid was found holding a dead dog and the cops assumed he killed it when it was the opposite.  He was mourning and trying to help the dog  and a whole lot of misunderstanding resulted and altercations with the law.  (Sad but good book and good play if you can see it).

It is every autistic kid’s parents’ nightmare.

Then I was talking with Kimberly Waara, Autism Ontario Ottawa Chapter Development Coordinator and she told me about a new initiative that everyone with a special needs person in their life should know about. 

So get this, there is a Registry for People with Autism.  It is a program in partnership with the Ottawa Chapter of Autism Ontario and the Ottawa Police Services.

The goal of the program is to promote communication and give police quick access to critical information about a registered individual in the case of an emergency situation or contact with police.

Registry can provide police with emergency contact information, detailed physical descriptions, known routines, favourite attractions or special needs of the individual with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This information can assist officers in communicating with, attending a residence of or dealing with an emergency involving an individual with ASD.

Although the program is titled Autism Registry, the Police are accepting registrations from other individuals where it would be beneficial to have the information prior to any interactions with police. Anyone wishing to register a dependent child or adult, can email to DunlopJ@ottawapolice.ca.

I, for one am really happy to learn about this program.  What a helpful tool.  Makes me feel a bit better.  Well done Autism Ontario Ottawa Chapter and Ottawa Police Services.