Scheme to help people with autism

Posted on: 1 December 2015

A new card designed to help people with autism has been launched in Devon.

Carried by people with the condition, the card identifies its carrier as a person living with autism, which affects how they communicate with or relate to other people and the world around them.

It can potentially help any situation in which a person with autism finds it difficult to express themselves, or make themselves understood.

And that’s more likely to happen in stressful situations.

Devon & Cornwall Police supports the launch of the new autism alert card, hoping that it will help their officers engage with people with autism in the community. Officers are to receive guidance and information on how to adapt their behaviour in those circumstances.

Devon County Council and Plymouth City Council have funded development of the card, in partnership with the organisation Dimensions for Living, which supports people with autism, the charity Devon Link-Up, and Devon & Cornwall Police.

Barbara Wilson from Dimensions for Living, said;

“This card scheme is incredibly important and a terrific step forward. It will provide autistic people with the confidence that there will be a better understanding of their condition especially amongst emergency services. It will be a valuable tool for officers and support them to better deal with behaviour that may be presented in a situation/incident. I hope the card will prove to be a tool that will enable both police officers and persons on the autism spectrum to respect each other and work together to enable better outcomes.

Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for adult social care and health, Cllr Stuart Barker, said:

“Situations and interactions with other people that most people take for granted can be a challenge for people with autism. Independence, as much as possible, is something that is important to all of us, and this card will help people who sometimes find that more challenging than others.

“This card will help people with autism feel more confident in their day to day lives and the interactions they have with others, such as the police and other emergency services.”

Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer said: ‘Devon and Cornwall Police is proud to support the Autism Alert Card Scheme to raise awareness of autism and to improve our interactions with autistic people. We are committed to identifying and protecting vulnerable members of our communities, some of whom may be autistic whilst also safeguarding all those in need.’

Councillor Ian Tuffin, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care for Plymouth City Council, said: “We want to make Plymouth an Autism Friendly city where people with autism are respected and valued as equal citizens. Plymouth recognises the importance of how people interact with the police and emergency services and acknowledge the value of implementing the Autism Alert Card across the region. Plymouth City Council is keen to work in partnership to ensure that we collectively respond to the needs of vulnerable people by offering solutions that help and empower.”

The card will be free and available to people with autism aged 10 and over. To apply for a card follow the link from the Dimensions for Living website; www.dimensionsforliving.org.

8 comments on “Scheme to help people with autism

  1. Jill Rooney says:

    This is fantastic. When we had 7 years of sustained bullying of my aspergers son in our street, the Police were clueless, and ended up stopping him from playing in the street, almost accusing him of initiating the abuse. One police officer said “I don’t know anything about Aspergers” and seemed very happy with herself about it.

  2. alyson townsend says:

    could you tell me if cornwall are doing this as see you have to live in devon to be able to apply am very intrested in one as my 13 year old son would benefit from this card

    • Rebekah says:

      If it turns out that these aren’t available then you might be able to find something by searching “communication passport” or “autism/autistic card” into google images. You could even make your own if you’re any good with microsoft publisher.

      The one I currently carry around if you want a template just states “Hi, I am __________ and I am autistic. If I am non-verbal or asking for someone please call ____________(person) on ____________ (number).” It’s quite straightforward but does the job quite well.

  3. Lorna Hughes says:

    As a service that provide day services for people who present various forms of autistic tendencies we will ensure all have access to this card, and will pass on the link to others

  4. Richard Adnams says:

    Excellent. I will spread the word with colleagues in Learning Disability Services.

  5. Richard Adnams says:

    Excellent. I will bring to the attention of others within Learning Disability Services and spread the word.

  6. Lin Harding says:

    This card has been long awaited. Will it be passed to support groups involved with autism to forward to their members?

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