Programs » Autism and Law Enforcement

Is your police department prepeared to assist your Autistic Child in an emergency? Is your police department prepared to deal with your autistic child in an emergency? The Autism Society of Maine has set a goal of ensuring our police departments and other emergency responders understand and are best equipped to handle this unique mental disability.

We work towards this goal by training police, fire and search and rescue departments across the state about autism and why it is crucial that this knowledge is available to the people who can save lives.

Federal Law Enforcement Officer Matt Brown who is also an Information Specialist with ASM, has developed a training program for police, fire and EMS on how to recognize autism and how to appropriately interact with individuals with ASD.

If you feel that your local police or fire department would benefit from training about Autism, we encourage you to contact the Autism Society of Maine at 1-800-273-5200 and we can arrange a training, it is free and approved by the Maine Criminal Justice Academy. For out-of-state training, please contact Matt Brown Directly at his website: www.aset911.com

Many people with Autism have specific sensitivities to lights, sounds, or touch. Some may avoid eye contact. Some are non-verbal. We encourage the parents of children with Autism to contact their local police departments and share this information with them.

The following links are for parent's and/or police officers to better understand the interaction that may occur between Law Enforcement and Autism.

Matt Brown, Law Enforcement Autism Information Specialist Program
  • Registration to Protect Persons with Developmental Disabilities for First Responders (form) The Autism Society of Maine, with assistance from the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (Warden Service), has created a form to register the address of persons with autism spectrum disorder or other developmental disabilities (including Alzheimer’s or Dementia). It is designed to have information immediately available to public safety personnel responding to the person wandering away from home or other facility. After filling out the form, provide it to your local law enforcement, fire, and/or rescue agency to have on file. For the file maintained for the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife fax the form to (207) 287-4805 attn: CAD Administrator or e-mail it to william.h.fuller@maine.gov
  • Consolidated Communications Bureau - Providing consolidated emergency communications to state, county and local public safety agencies. The Bureau operates four Regional Communications Centers (RCC) in Augusta, Gray, Orono and Houlton that provide both Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) and emergency dispatch services for police, fire and emergency medical services.
  • Fire Safety for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders - A fire safety fact-sheet to help prepare you and your loved one in the event of a fire.
  • Recommendations for parents/care-givers Dealings with Police - Recommendations for the parent or care-giver of an individual with ASD when dealing with the police.
  • Questions for Dispatchers to ask on a Call regarding Autism - For dispatchers when receiving a call that involves Autism. This provides better information to first responders in situations involving an ASD individual.
  • Autism Informational Pamphlet for Prosecutors - Information for prosecuting attorneys when dealing with matters which involves a victim/offender/witness with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Dennis Debbaudt - Dennis Debbaudt is the journalist who could be given much of the credit for Law Enforcement's increased awareness about autism. Dennis wrote the ground-breaking booklet "Avoiding Unfortunate Situations" in 1994, the first-ever look at the interactions between children and adults with autism and law enforcement professionals.
  • AWAARE Collaboration - Autism and wandering safety resources including tracking technology and saftey materials. Resources for parents, caregivers, first responders, educators, physicians and therapists.
  • If any families that have dealt with their child running away, or having issues regarding law enforcement and would like to attend one of the following sessions, please call the Autism Society of Maine: 1-800-273-5200.