Information for Law Enforcement and Other First Responders

Cartoon rendering of a police officer, firefighter, and doctor.

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Overview

This document contains a description of autism, ways that individuals with autism may behave, and considerations for first responders when interacting with people with autism.

Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have difficulty picking up social cues (social referencing) and understanding other individual’s thoughts and intentions, making them vulnerable to a range of crimes, from fraud and theft to more violent crimes. Individuals with ASD are also generally taught compliance from a very young age, making them easy targets for abuse and victimization. When assisting a crime victim who is on the autism spectrum, first responders should take specific actions to communicate with and support the individual.

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This resource created by Autism Society