As I think I have previously said Andy is fascinated with all things to do with the Police at the moment. This appeared to begin when he absconded to the local supermarket a few months ago. (I can still barely think about this!) The local community helped enormously and this led to the Police picking Andy up at the shop. The Officers were highly efficient and along with the help of local people disaster was averted and Andy survived unscathed.
That night he fell asleep with his IPad showing a picture of a Police car that he had selected unprompted. Since then he has been very animated when we see Police Officers and vehicles. He is fascinated with the hi-vis vests and the equipment there on, as well as the checkered pattern around the Police hats.
Recently I had contacted the local Dunoon Police to see if a visit could be arranged and we were duly invited down the other morning. Andy was really excited and verbal when we talked about it in the house beforehand.On arrival at the station Andy was a little subdued- possibly over awed! We were met by John, a Sergeant at the station reception and Andy was still quite quiet. I asked John if he could put on his vest and hat for us and when he did Andy suddenly sprang to life, stimming and jumping in a very excited fashion. John was extremely tolerant and embracing towards Andy as our precious boy gave the vest, hat and equipment a very close inspection! Jenny caught the moment perfectly in the accompanying photo. The uniform seemed to provide great visual and tactile stimulation to Andy and he explored it over and over. We all enjoyed a very informative visit and explored the cells and a Police van. John clearly had some knowledge about autism and was very careful about finding out if anything (e.g. like the siren on the van) was difficult for Andy.
As well as having a lot of fun there was also a serious purpose to our visit however.
After the fright we got from Andy’s unaccompanied trip to the supermarket we have tried to take every step we can to prevent this happening again. If it ever did we wanted to pass on some information to assist our local Police in finding Andy and know about his interests, obsessions and behaviours. John , the Police Sergeant listened to what we had to say and also took some literature on absconding of those with autism as well as a copy of our newest Inspired by Autism booklet with up to date pictures of Andy. We were also able to have a discussion about how Andy’s autism might affect any interaction with the Police now and in future when he is bigger. For example delays in sensory processing might lead to a delayed response to a verbal instruction etc. I hope to arrange some follow up information sessions in the near future and hope that Andy and others with ASC will benefit. In the meantime we were just as delighted as Andy clearly was by the response of out local Police. Thank-you!