Police officers face a difficult job, dealing with aggressive people, intoxicated and drug affected people, and also people with mental illnesses, but are they getting the correct training when it comes down to interacting with people suffering mental conditions such as autism? Judging by the figures, it would appear they are not.
Network Autism, which is open and available to offer support and guidance to law enforcement officers and police officers, says “sensory-perceptual difficulties can make things like fluorescent lights, flashing lights, sirens and busy environments almost impossible to cope with. Experiencing sensations differently than others, disrupted routines and not knowing what to expect can lead to distraction, anxiety, and fear.”
People suffering from autism can find almost every aspect of interacting with police officers disturbing, while police not understanding the condition can often become frustrated with the person’s apparent lack of cooperation. Having trouble communicating is at the very center of autism, and this lack of clear communication between the police, and the autistic person is what leads to a breakdown in the interaction.
Hopefully, in the future, we will see more police organizations around the country, and the world, undertake training in how to recognize the signs of autism, and how better to interact with people suffering from autism. If you enjoyed the article, then please don’t hesitate to share it, and comment, thanks!