When things go wrong, the emergency services are called. Whilst some emergency service workers are well informed about a range of disorders, many are not familiar with the characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorders and individuals with an ASD are often unable to communicate their problem.
As there is nothing about the appearance of the individual that tells the service personnel that they have a disability, emergency services may incorrectly diagnose them or handle them in a way that may lead to danger for them.
One issue is that individuals with ASDs can be very literal and if you tell them to “hang on” for example, they might ask what to hang on to: whilst in another individual this would be a cheeky comment, for an individual with an ASD, it is their logical response. It is important, especially for police officers, to realise that some of the people they are dealing with may have an ASD and they are not necessarily being difficult.
We strongly recommend that all emergency services inform themselves about ASDs and ensure that they can accommodate the special needs of these individuals. We can provide a range of training options.