Nikki and Brett Soendker have three children on the autism spectrum and have devoted time and resources to helping the autism community. Nikki is the founder of Unfinish3d Pieces, an autism charity and awareness group.
So when the Moberly Police Department approached the couple in January about consulting on a directory that would help officers identify and help people with autism, they were already all in.
In April, the Moberly police launched a voluntary autism directory to improve officers' interactions with people on the autism spectrum. The personal information on the form includes names, addresses, descriptions, special tics and more to help police identify and help people who have autism. The goal is to help responders understand what might make a person agitated and how to calm the person down in a stressful situation.
Autism Speaks, an advocacy group, offers this insight for law enforcement: "Because police are usually the first to respond to an emergency, it is critical that these officers have a working knowledge of autism, and the wide variety of behaviors individuals with autism can exhibit in emergency situations."
Roughly a third to a half of people killed by police are disabled, according to the Ruderman Family Foundation.
The information gathered will be...
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