This guest post is by Kerry Magro. Kerry is a full-time professional speaker and self-advocate. Have him give a talk in your area or even potentially a first responder training at your local police precinct by sending him an inquiry here.
Note: My friend Dena Gassner wrote a fair point on Facebook to these cards that I would like to add before you consider signing your child up. She writes, “The risk they present to autistics-particularly if they’re not with a support person-far outweighs the benefit. I’d worry about the presumption of fault simply because the person’s autistic. Or that the person would reach without asking or verbalizing why and get killed. First responders are looking for medic alert equipment.”
As a professional speaker who also has autism, I’ve had the opportunity to give first responder trainings and also talk to First Responders such as the NYPD about the importance of accepting and understanding our autism community. In my research some time ago I learned that Alabama had started a new program to help police interact with drivers with autism on the road! Starting in March of 2015, any person with autism from Alabama could fill out the form here, take it to their physician and than after they signed off on it would take the form to any Alabama health department to receive the card (AND just for $10).
Jamey Durham, Director, Bureau of Professional and Support Services for the Alabama Department of Public Health told WSFA about the ID cards,”We wanted to help law enforcement and any first responders to realize that maybe this person is a little agitated because he falls within the Autism spectrum disorder and to reflect and help this individual through the process.”
This ID program is a great step in the right direction. I have autism, am a professional speaker and often speak with first responders on how to interact with people with autism and special needs. You can hire me to speak to your first responders by contacting me here. The more communication we have with our first responders the better our communities will be! My goal is for more and more first responders to be educated about not only those with autism but all special needs!
You can learn more about the program here.
— Center for Autism (@centerforautism) June 13, 2015
My name is Kerry Magro, a professional speaker and best-selling author who is also on the autism spectrum that started the nonprofit KFM Making a Difference in 2011 to help students with autism receive scholarship aid to pursue a post-secondary education. Help support me so I can continue to help students with autism go to college by making a tax-deductible donation to our nonprofit here.