Card to help sup­port peo­ple with autism

Midweek Visiter - - The Sefton Coast -

ACARD peo­ple with autism can carry to en­sure they are given ap­pro­pri­ate sup­port by emer­gency ser­vices has been launched.

Mersey­side Po­lice and Mersey­side Fire and Res­cue Ser­vice (MFRS) have col­lab­o­rated with the Cheshire Autism Prac­ti­cal Sup­port (ChAPS) and Autism To­gether char­i­ties to launch the Autism At­ten­tion Card.

This ini­tia­tive helps peo­ple with Autism Spec­trum Con­di­tion to re­ceive ap­pro­pri­ate sup­port in an emer­gency sit­u­a­tion and pro­vides train­ing for staff to en­gage more ef­fec­tively with peo­ple with hid­den vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties.

Autism is one of the fastest grow­ing de­vel­op­men­tal dis­or­ders and a gov­ern­ment sur­vey sug­gests that one in 45 chil­dren aged three -17 have been di­ag­nosed with autism spec­trum dis­or­der.

The At­ten­tion Card is de­signed to be car­ried by a per­son with a med­i­cal di­ag­no­sis of Autism Spec­trum Con­di­tion or Asperger’s Syn­drome.

De­tails of the card­holder’s dif­fi­cul­ties can be recorded onto Mersey­side’s Po­lice’s in­tel­li­gence data sys­tem, flag­ging them as vul­ner­a­ble.

Sergeant Mike Brum­skill said: “Mersey­side Po­lice is de­ter­mined to pro­vide the best qual­ity of ser­vice we can for peo­ple with autism and their fam­i­lies.

“This proven ini­tia­tive will help pro­tect vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple within our com­mu­ni­ties.

“The pos­i­tive re­sponse from autism sup­port groups and part­ner agen­cies has been fan­tas­tic.

“If you are el­i­gi­ble for the card or know some­one who would ben­e­fit from it, I would urge you to apply.

“The At­ten­tion Card scheme has been a great suc­cess in Cheshire since its launch with nu­mer­ous ex­am­ples of good prac­tice in of­ten dif­fi­cult and dis­tress­ing cir­cum­stances.

“Hun­dreds of peo­ple carry the card and autism aware­ness train­ing given to po­lice of­fi­cers has helped many peo­ple, giv­ing re­as­sur­ance to them and their fam­i­lies.”

Jo Gar­ner, founder and managing di­rec­tor of ChAPS said: “We are de­lighted that this ini­tia­tive is be­ing rolled out to other po­lice forces, es­pe­cially Mersey­side Po­lice and MFRS as our ge­o­graph­i­cal neigh­bours.

“It means for those peo­ple who carry the card, they can be as­sured they will be un­der­stood by the po­lice and re­ceive the ap­pro­pri­ate sup­port.

“Peo­ple on the autism spec­trum can­not al­ways un­der­stand com­plex or ab­stract ques­tions, and can ap­pear to have dis­re­gard for author­ity by not be­ing able to give clear ad­e­quate ex­pla­na­tion for their be­hav­iour, or even un­der­stand the sit­u­a­tion they find them­selves in.

“This card is vi­tal in help­ing both the card­holder and po­lice to en­sure sit­u­a­tions do not be­come dif­fi­cult.”

The ini­tia­tive has been backed by the re­gion’s Po­lice Com­mis­sioner, Jane Kennedy, who said: “This is such a sim­ple tool that can bring real ben­e­fits to peo­ple liv­ing with autism.

“It is not easy al­ways for po­lice of­fi­cers and other front­line re­spon­ders to iden­tify if some­body has autism.

“By car­ry­ing the At­ten­tion Card, emer­gency ser­vices staff will be able to in­stantly iden­tify that some­body is autis­tic and en­sure they get the ad­di­tional and spe­cial­ist sup­port they need.

“Pro­tect­ing vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple is one of my pri­or­i­ties for Mersey­side Po­lice, so I’m pleased to see this scheme, which has been recog­nised as best prac­tice by the Home Of­fice, rolled out across Mersey­side.”

To apply for the card visit www.cheshireautism.org. uk/news/at­ten­tion-card.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the char­ity and how it can help your fam­ily (with or with­out di­ag­no­sis) please visit www.cheshireautism. org.uk.

A po­lice at­ten­tion card, for Autism Spec­trum Dis­or­der

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