POST FALLS, Idaho — A detective with the Post Falls Police Department and a crime victim advocate recently launched a sticker program to notify first responders about people with autism.
The yellow “Autistic Child” stickers launched by Detective John Mason and advocate CJ Jones can be used at homes or on vehicles to notify first responders about the potential of dealing with someone who has autism.
Several years ago, the police department began offering free “I have Autism” cards for citizens to help law enforcement when they encounter or are asked to find someone with autism. This helps to minimize situations of risk, victimization to the person with autism and risk to the officer, according to the police department.
EO Pittsburgh, a web development company owned and operated by individuals who have autism, developed the Austim ID cards. Due to the stress of an emergency situation, people with autism are frequently unable to communicate the nature of their condition and first responders may misinterpret their behavior.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. According to the Centers for Disease Control, ASD affects an estimated 1 in 59 children in the United States.
Those who would like to pick up a sticker can do so at the Post Falls Police Department located at 1717 E. Polston Avenue in Post Falls. They are available at the dispatch center.