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Debbault Seminar



Autism Risk Management

Autism Risk Management



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Debbault Seminar Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Autism & Law Enforcement A Parent Workshop: Recognizing and Reducing Risk for Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders Ft. Worth, Texas June 28, 2003 Tarrant County-ASA
  • 2. Objectives
    • Discuss why law enforcement & first response professionals need to recognize autism.
    • Discuss characteristics commonly seen in individuals with autism.
    • Identify the risks associated with autism
    • Explain the problems that a person with autism may have in criminal justice/emergency situations.
    • Discuss ways that individuals with autism, their families, and organizations are working with law enforcement agencies and school districts.
  • 3. Why should law enforcement professionals recognize autism in field situations?
    • To better serve and protect vulnerable members of the community
    • Make the best use of their valuable time and resources
    • Avoid litigation
  • 4.
    • May be nonverbal (50%) or repeat what officer says
    • May not respond to STOP command
    • Echoes words and phrases
    • Often appear as deaf
    • May have difficulty recognizing/repairing breakdowns in communication
    • May not recognize uniform, badge or vehicle or understand what is expected of them if they do
    Concerns for Law Enforcement/Emergency Professionals
    • Public Safety & Criminal Justice Issues
    • Sensory input may produce seizure, panic or flight reaction
    • May not react well to changes in routine, encounter with strangers
    • Associated medical conditions
    • Fascination with water and other glimmering objects
    • May fear dress out uniform
    • May lack fear of real dangers
  • 5. Behaviors & characteristics commonly seen in people having autism.
    • Argumentative, stubborn, or belligerent
    • May answer “NO” or “WHY” to everything
    • May be poor listeners
    • Monotone voice with unusual pronunciations
    • May be unable to give information
    • Very honest, not tactful, blunt
    • May not respond to “STOP”, may run away
    • May cover ears and look away from speaker
    • Sensory sensitivity to touch , lights, sounds, odors, animals
    • May have seizures
    • High pain threshold
    • May not recognize danger
    • Inappropriate laughing or giggling
    • May exhibit hand flapping, body rocking, stands too close or too far away, socially inappropriate body language
  • 6. Autism’s High Risks
    • Behaviors draw attention
    • At risk of misunderstandings by public, increased 911 responses
    • Accompanying medical condition, such as: seizure, asthma, hypotonia
    • Do not react well in emergencies, for instance, not know what to do, how to seek help, have high pain tolerance, may flee, attempt to re-enter, touch downed lines or flail against medical procedures
    • Caregiver unprepared to interact with first responders
    • Perfect victims
    • Restraint
    • Believable as offender; lack credibility as witness
  • 7. Circumstances when first responders might come in contact with a person having autism
    • In response to a medical emergency.
    • In response to a call for assistance.
      • Calls for assistance commonly involve missing children, caregiver actions, retail settings and schools.
      • Can occur anywhere in the community
  • 8. Common reasons for assistance calls
    • Person is acting out and no one recognizes him
    • Parent or caregiver actions misinterpreted
    • Running into traffic, entered homes of others, looking into windows of homes
    • Rearranging or making order of store displays
    • Following or approaching strangers
    • Behavior has become escalated at home, school or in community settings
    • Caregiver becomes incapacitated
    • Medical emergency, fire or natural disaster--person is alone & upset at scene
  • 9. Elopement, Runners, Lost & Wandering
    • Top reason for law enforcement contact
    • Often seek water sources
    • Attempted entries
    • Run into traffic
    • Go with/run from strangers
    • Alzheimer’s parallel
    • May be seeking special treatment
    • Elopement prevention & care may look like abuse
  • 10. Forms of identification & informational handouts used by person with autism or caregiver
    • ID card with name, address, phone numbers
    • Photo-ID and/or fingerprint card
    • ID bracelet or necklace (like Medic-Alert)
    • Clothing tags with name and phone numbers
    • GPS & RF tracking technology
    • Information sheets with name, address, phone
      • Photo, physical description, likes/dislikes
      • Favorite places to go, type of disability
      • Best way to communicate
  • 11. 911 Red Flag
    • Understand & consider risks of autism for all first response professionals-police, fire, EMT, ER, 911
    • Flag with key data
    • Alert first responders
    • Offer to community proactively
    • Positive PR
    • The South Central Indiana Chapter of the Autism Society
  • 12. Suggested responses for law enforcement to use with a person having autism
    • Approach in a non-threatening manner
    • Avoid pointing or waving. Maintain calm body language. Keep hands down.
    • Talk calmly and/or repeat
    • Ask if person has autism and for ID card
    • Allow for delayed response time
    • Avoid slang expressions
    • Avoid touching, if possible (may be sensitive).
    • Consider communication methods
    • If possible,contact caregiver immediately
  • 13. Fire, Emergency Response & ER Their time is valuable: having person wait, even if for minor injuries, may increase length and intensity of initial response
    • Listen to and seek information from caregiver
    • Ambulance & ER trappings increase sensory input
    • New environments increase anxiety
    • Consider sensory diet overload
    • Upgrade triage? Best use of valuable time & resources
    • In ER, seek consultation or quiet room
    • Let person settle down and become comfortable
    • Proactively work with first response community-police, firefighters, EMT, ambulance, ER
  • 14. Is sensory over-stimulation a factor? Look for outward behaviors. Move person to a quiet place. Calm creates calm .
    • Sirens
    • Lights
    • K-9 Partner
    • Odors
    • Equipment
    • Touch
    • Geographic containment
    • Restraint as last resort
    • Avoid face down take down
    • Release to safe space
    • Consider buffers
    • Be alert to seizure, asthma
    • Other medical conditions
    • Hypotonia risks
  • 15. Arrest & Incarceration
    • Document autism in initial report
    • Attempt to resolve at scene
    • Continue communication and de-escalation techniques, model calm behavior
    • Be alert to unknown medical condition & medication requirements
    • Consider medical evaluation
    • Alert supervisor, prosecutor and mental health professional for immediate evaluation
    • Alert jail authorities --person is at risk in general population
    • Contact caregivers
  • 16. Interview & Interrogation
    • Mid to high end of spectrum
    • Eye contact
    • Lack of body language awareness
    • Skills decrease
    • Blunt, evasive, answers unconnected to matter at hand
    • Will arouse officer instincts
    • Guileless v. trickery/deceit
    • Sophisticated echolalia
    • Authority figure/friend
    • Concrete thinker easily misled
    • Usually poor liars--test for lying skills
  • 17. Tips for Interviewers
    • Seek advice of prosecutor
    • Consider contacting a specialist
    • Be sure person understands legal rights. Saying yes is not the same as understanding
    • Avoid confusion. Ask questions that rely on narrative
    • Ask series of unrelated yes/no questions to determine style & dependability
    • Follow gut instincts-- if statement/confession is too good to be true, it probably is
  • 18. Situations where people with autism may be perfect victims
    • Disability harassment--teasing, bullying & torment
    • Street crimes--bad guys select perfect victims
    • Gangs
    • Hate crimes
    • Adult care
    • Sex crimes
    • Restraint techniques
    • Victim-witness interviews
  • 19. Victim-Witness Interviews
    • Preparation--discuss with prosecutor
    • Seek records
    • Interview others with knowledge away from scene
    • Establish/look for patterns of abuse
    • Consider two victim interviews
    • Leave your feelings at the door
    • Videotape? May induce guilty plea
    • Avoid authority clothes; relaxed venue, short time spans
    • Do words have same meaning?
    • Establish alternative timelines-personal schedule
    • Be alert to fatigue
    • Pre-test for truth telling
  • 20. Proactive Options
    • 911 Flagging
    • Develop & carry handout
    • Know your neighbors
    • Recognize risks associated with having autism
    • Form partnerships for recognition and response
    • Cross educate law enforcers and students who have autism
  • 21. Educational Partnerships
    • Deliver early, often, suited to age and ability, through IEP
    • May run, have difficulty adjusting to new situations
    • Fear of uniform, badges, equipment,vehicles
    • Demystify responders
    • Police/first responders are moms, dads and neighbors
    • Don’t run from safe, go to people
    • Learn constitutional right to remain silent & ask for attorney
    • How to call for or seek help
    • Not make sudden movements
    • How to remain calm
    • Carry & show ID
    • Through mock interviews
    • Reduce stress of sudden encounters
    • Consider video for visual learners
    • Learn from each other how to recognize and respond
    • Cross-develop key skills applied throughout careers & lifetimes
  • 22. Programs
    • Community policing philosophy & programs
    • 911 Red Flags
    • Task forces
    • Establish CIT, or multi-jurisdictional investigative unit? Consider first any interested volunteers, experienced personnel, rotate & educate others
    • Identify issues & establish two-way communications, work through barriers
    • Improve citizen & law enforcement recognition and response
  • 23. Summary
    • Law enforcement officers/emergency response professionals can enhance public safety & officer safety and potentially reduce their own exposure to liability when we help them:
      • recognize risks associated with autism
      • apply tolerance and public relation skills in situations with people that may have autism
      • know best ways to get information from people with autism, and assistance from families, caseworkers, and organizations
  • 24. ????Questions????
  • 25.
    • Thank You for Being a Great Audience!! Contact Information: Dennis Debbaudt ddpi @flash.net 772-398-9756 http://policeandautism.cjb.net/ http://www.autismriskmanagement.com/