New autism identification cards help interactions with first responders

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – A new law that allows identification cards for people diagnosed with autism is now in effect in the state of Alabama. These cards will help when people who have autism interact with emergency responders.

Autism advocates in the Tennessee Valley are calling the cards a win, and so are police.

Blue lights flashing in the rear-view mirror could make anybody's heart race, but for people diagnosed with autism, getting pulled over can mean sensory overload.

"Our children are usually very rule oriented, so this could be very upsetting to them they could be overwhelmed by the lights, the sirens, the sounds of the sirens," said Behavior Analyst Lindsay Chapman.

This year, the state of Alabama will issue identification cards to people diagnosed with autism if they request one. The cards should help in their interactions with police go more smoothly.

"To be able to hand them the card when they maybe can't get the communication out, if they can hand the card over the first responder can understand 'okay, I might need to speak to this person a little differently,'" said Chapman.

Huntsville Fraternal Order of Police President Bill Davis says officers agree this new law is helpful.

"The officer would know who he's dealing with, he could get in touch with a relative or doctor, find out what kind of treatment this person is getting and what kind of reaction they may get out of this person, to help defuse any situation that may arise," said Davis.

The autism identification card is not required, but it is recommended. If you'd like to request one click here.