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Goal: 30,000 Progress: 12,750
Sponsored by: The Autism Site

America's cops need help. They're underfunded, stretched too thin, and dealing with deeply divided communities every day. They're asked to do so much with very little!

When law enforcement budgets get tight, the first thing to go are training programs that are considered as 'extras.' These extras can be anything that senior members of the department believe doesn't directly keep officers safe.

Autism-Interaction Training, for many departments, is often perceived as one of these 'extras.'

But that's not the right perspective. While rare in the general population, autism spectrum disorders are a reality in communities across the country. People on the spectrum are seven times more likely to come in contact with law enforcement than their nuerotypical peers. To properly do their job, law enforcement must understand how to interact with people on the spectrum, especially in the stressful or overwhelming situations that can prompt police interaction in the first place.

Many effective education programs already exist, but their implementation is piecemeal and dependent upon the funding and time being available in each department.

We can't stand back and continue to let autism-interaction training be a low-priority issue for our communities' police forces!

To help address the lack of universal training for our police on the unique circumstances the autism spectrum presents, we are calling upon the Justice Department to implement a mandatory, federally-funded education program that equips officers with the skills needed to identify and effectively interact with individuals on the autism spectrum. Sign the petition now!

Sign Here

To The Attorney General of the United States,

We are writing to you because we are concerned by the lack of universal police training when it comes to interacting with individuals on the autism spectrum.

According to the Autism Society of America, "Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first two years of life and is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain, impacting development in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. Both children and adults on the autism spectrum typically show difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities."

Autism can present itself in many different ways, and people on the spectrum often respond to stressful situations differently from nuerotypical people. They are also seven times more likely to come in contact with law enforcement than their nuerotypical peers. Standard interaction protocols often are not as effective for people on the spectrum, and may even be harmful.

People on the autism spectrum are as much a part of America's communities as people of different races, ethnicities, or national background. As such, we demand that proper, universal training in interacting with people on the spectrum be required in police departments across the country, and that the federal government fund this training to ensure it occurs.

Please use your position to advocate for the autism spectrum community and help law enforcement be better prepared to interact with it. Lives are at stake.

Thank you,

Petition Signatures

Apr 24, 2017 Vanessa Powell
Apr 24, 2017 Melinda EVANS This just benefits all. Police need this so much.
Apr 24, 2017 Laurelle Bednar
Apr 24, 2017 (Name not displayed) Children with autism often aren't meaning to be bad. Impulse control is a real problem. Most can't verbalize how they are feeling or what they need. Having a child evaluated by crisis would be appropriate. Not arrest! 1 in 5 kids are in the spectrum!
Apr 24, 2017 Karen LiCalzi
Apr 24, 2017 Anneka Houck I think it is very important, for both the safety of individuals with Autism AND law enforcement, that there be formal training on how to handle people with Autism.
Apr 24, 2017 Kelly Maahs My son is almost 13, has been diagnosed Autistic since he was 2. This is so unbelievable that this was even a loud to happen and "teachers" and staff at that school need some training of their own.
Apr 23, 2017 Angela Othon
Apr 23, 2017 Susan Choudhari Autistic children should not be treated like criminals. It is reprehensible that the State of Florida has doe nothing to educate its police force about the rights of the ENTIRE autistic community. They cannot speak for themselves.
Apr 23, 2017 Christine Weaver
Apr 23, 2017 Mary Irizarry
Apr 23, 2017 Michelle Young
Apr 23, 2017 Amanda Shepherd
Apr 23, 2017 Christopher Dean
Apr 23, 2017 Gloria Minix
Apr 23, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Apr 23, 2017 dawn fleischer my son has autism and law enforcement does need to be trained on how to identify it, we has parents also need to teach are kids it is not ok to kick hit or spit.
Apr 23, 2017 Lois Gaskin
Apr 23, 2017 Michele McCullough It's unbelievable that this is still going on. This is essential training.
Apr 23, 2017 Nitza Mendez
Apr 23, 2017 gita Barbezat
Apr 23, 2017 Laura Jerles
Apr 23, 2017 Karen Rinaldi
Apr 23, 2017 Denisse Moreno
Apr 23, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Apr 23, 2017 (Name not displayed) Particularly in the case of juveniles, parents should be allowed to accompany children at all times until conviction. My grandson is autistic and this is unacceptable. Plus every person should be told why he is being arrested at the time of the arrest.
Apr 23, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Apr 23, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Apr 23, 2017 (Name not displayed) This is horrific!!! My daughter is on the spectrum! I really would like to know was this really needed and this was a set up, if I ever saw one!
Apr 23, 2017 James Manalli This is barbaric.
Apr 23, 2017 Ryan Edwards
Apr 23, 2017 (Name not displayed) My son has autism and has suffered at the hands of police officers and others who do not understand the diagnoses.
Apr 23, 2017 Angela Favaloro Knowledge is power and safety for all. More training for officers=a safer public. All of us.
Apr 23, 2017 Jesse Eckman Raising an autistic child is hard enough. Others need to be aware of each individuals needs
Apr 23, 2017 Claire Holloway I'm blessed to be in a community that has been trained. When my son had episodes, once the police knew he was autistic, they knew how to calm him down. All school staff and first responders need Ana would benefit from the training.
Apr 23, 2017 (Name not displayed) These children need help & insurance companies need to include this in basic care! Autism therapies are usually put towards "lifetime deductibles" & are VERY expensive!
Apr 23, 2017 Brandi Favaloro I have a daughter on the spectrum and the need is dire for our kids safety.
Apr 23, 2017 Tiffany Peralez
Apr 23, 2017 Crystal Lee My son is 13 with autism. What this video showed is my biggest fear for him. I know other mothers who have experienced this very same thing with their autistic children. This has absolutely got to stop. Also shame on that parapro. She needs to be fired
Apr 23, 2017 Wynema Barber
Apr 23, 2017 Cecilia Reaves All children with special needs, regardless of handicapability, should be treated with respect and have their dignity remain in tact. Train all law enforcement, and school personnel alike, to recognize and treat special needs people respectfully.
Apr 23, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Apr 23, 2017 Tracy Sherrer
Apr 23, 2017 Kathleen Yzaguirre My grand daughter has autism. I would feel the same she is on verbal and does have behavior issues. I would be out raged
Apr 23, 2017 Raquel Jacobs
Apr 22, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Apr 22, 2017 Julieta Hood This is outrageous! I feel for the poor boy and his parents. How come the policemen treated a minor this way.
Apr 22, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Apr 22, 2017 Patricia Nunez Enougth is enougth this cops need to go and do their job arrested criminals not innocente people and kidz yurks
Apr 22, 2017 (Name not displayed)

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