"A child who connects to a dog connects to the world."
That's the motto for a unique organization known as Autism Service Dogs of America. Their mission is clear and concise: "To make a positive impact on the lives of children living with autism---and their families---by providing exceptionally well trained service dogs." ASDA, a private, non-profit, was founded in 2002 by Priscilla Taylor, a former special education teacher. You can learn more about ASDA at http://autismservicedogsofamerica.com/. We've also linked to ASDA on this blog.
Act Today For Military Families With Autism wants us to know that one out of 88 children of military families has an autism diagnosis. Their mission is "to raise awareness and provide treatment services to families that cannot afford the treatments and services their children require." Please visit their web site and consider a donation (http://www.acttodayformilitaryfamilies.org/). Do it today!
It's not unusual for law enforcement personnel to encounter someone with autism. If the police officer is not familiar with recognizing some of the behaviors of individuals with autism, potential conflict may result. This is largely due to the police officer's misunderstanding of these behaviors. Fortunately many police departments across the country have been trained in avoiding undue conflict and the risks associated with intervention. Many of these programs teach police officers how to recognize individuals with autism. This recognition may include, but not be limited to, the following:
- Understanding the individual may not respond well to police commands.
- Understanding the individual may have some medical issues or concerns that give the appearance to the officer of being on illegal drugs.
- Understanding the individual may be non-verbal.
- Understanding the individual may exhibit behaviors such as aggression, self-abuse, pacing and yelling.
If your community does not have such police awareness programs, it's vitally important to contact them to start one. Such programs can ensure the safety of both the individual with autism and the police.
(SourceS: Dennis Debbaubt, Police and Autism and Gateways Community Services, Nashua, N.H.).