April is Autism Awareness month

Published 9:52 am Thursday, April 30, 2015

April is also Autism Awareness Month. All Community Service Troopers in the state were trained as instructors in law enforcement response to autism a few years ago. We have trained all troopers at our posts as we may encounter autistic people, either in daily activities or responding to a missing person.

I would like to give the public some of this information as you may know someone autistic. One in about 110 American children is afflicted with autism. Although autism doesn’t have a cure, some people make progress with behavior, responses, communication, and life skills. It may not be physically obvious.

In the event you assist in searching for a missing autistic person or have an unplanned contact, remember these tips:

• Approach in a quiet and non-threatening manner.

• Check for injuries

• Avoid touching (as a characteristic may be touch sensitivity)

• Look for a medical tag

• Talk calmly, using plain language

• Allow for a delayed response

• May need to repeat and/or rephrase instructions

• Model calm body language and give extra personal space

• Give praise and encouragement

Families can turn in contact information to local law enforcement. You should carry a picture of your autistic family member, including emergency contact information with a picture in the car for quick response. Ensure your 911 information is updated with the proper information. Place locks up high. Get to know and educate your neighbors and share contact information. This information can be shared with frequently visited places.

If a search must take place, we are trained to immediately start near any body of water, even local pools and/or a busy road as the constant pattern of moving vehicles may get the attention of the autistic person.

For more information, log on to www.midmichiganautism.org


For questions or comments please contact me at TrooperRob53@Yahoo.com or call (269) 683-4411.