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:

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
  • Autism Checklist for Law Enforcement/First Responders - A critical two-page form to inform local police and emergency response personnel about the specific details about your child. Knowing in advance not only that your child has Autism, but also the characteristics unique to your child, will allow police and emergency personnel to be better able to assist and understand your child and his or her special needs.
  • 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.

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, call ASM: 1-800-273-5200.