Police launch autism alert card initiative
Scottish Autism and Central Scotland Police have teamed up to launch a new autism awareness initiative in Central Scotland aimed at developing a greater understanding of autism in public services.
The new Autism Alert Card enables those who carry it to identify themselves as being on the autism spectrum. The card highlights how the bearer may have difficulties in talking and listening and may show signs of unusual behaviour. It also includes a named contact who can offer their support to help police, ambulance, hospital and other key public service professionals better understand the individual’s autism needs.
Certain characteristics that are often associated with autism such as high anxiety or hyper-sensitivity to being touched or exposed to loud noises can result in a difficult and stressful situation for all parties involved. The Autism Alert Card is a simple identification designed to reduce this potential for misunderstanding and ensure that people living with autism get the best possible support.
The initiative is being launched with the support of NHS and the Central Scotland local authorities, Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannanshire Councils, who will promote the Autism Alert Card via GP surgeries, health centres, social work departments and education establishments.
Launching the new scheme, Scottish Autism CEO Alan Somerville said: “Individuals on the autism spectrum can sometimes be perceived as being unusual or belligerent to those who do not have an understanding of their condition. The Autism Awareness Card aims to help professionals in key public service areas such as criminal justice and healthcare in understanding some of the issues and challenges that may arise when they come into contact with someone with autism.
“While we have seen lots of progress from the police, emergency and healthcare services in understanding how to effectively communicate with people on the autism spectrum, the Alert Card is another welcome step forward in ensuring that those individuals are treated fairly and given the appropriate level of support they require.”
Chief Superintendent Davie Flynn, Head of Communities Policing with Central Scotland Police, said: “We have been working in partnership with Scottish Autism and are pleased to launch the Autism Alert Card in Central Scotland. This scheme will allow the emergency services to identify, at an early stage, that those carrying the card have an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Our staff can therefore cater for their needs at the earliest opportunity and offer the best support and reassurance. I would encourage those individuals who feel they would benefit from the card to contact Scottish Autism for more information and a registration form.”
The Autism Alert Card can be accessed through Scottish Autism who can be contacted by phone on 01259 720044 or email email@example.com