April is national autism awareness month , and our Michigan State Police have signed up for an initiative called “Action for Autism”. Officers will go through a series of training on autism awareness, and all officers will be provided with calming bags for their patrol car. These support tools help officers when stressful situations occur with someone with autism spectrum disorder. (ASD)

The Autism Alliance of Michigan will be providing virtual training to law enforcement officers of the MSP. This provides them with guidance on how to respond to situations where they are dealing with special needs people and specifically the ASD community that wanders.

The MSP is adding the calming bags to all of their patrol cars in Michigan, they contain fidget spinners, stress balls, teddy bears, along with therapeutic silicone items for chewing. Using these items allows the officers to provide comfort and security for a person with ASD and improves the communication between them during an interaction.

Michigan.gov reports

"Several community partners supported this effort, and on behalf of the MSP, I'd like to thank Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Meijer, Milestones Child Development Center and the Autism Alliance of Michigan," stated Lt. Sarah Krebs, who spearheaded MSP's involvement in the initiative. "Growing up with a disabled person in my family gave me a unique opportunity to see how this population struggles. I wanted to be a part of the bridge to connect law enforcement to them."

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It's heartwarming to see our State Police taking steps to better communicate with people who are often misunderstood, and doing it in such a caring and thoughtful way.

 

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