April arrives on our doorstep this Thursday and along with it the launch point for ‘Action for Autism’ as April marks National Autism Awareness Month.
The Michigan State Police is the most recent law enforcement agency to join the initiative called ‘Action for Autism,’ which provides training on autism awareness and equips officers with calming bags to carry in their patrol vehicles to provide support in stressful situations involving someone with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Throughout the month of April, the Autism Alliance of Michigan is providing virtual training to enforcement members of the Michigan State Police. That instruction covers guidance for responding to calls involving persons with special needs and specifically those who wander due to ASD.
During the month of April, the State Police are also outfitting all of their marked patrol vehicles statewide with calming bags that contain fidget spinners, stress balls, teddy bears and therapeutic silicone items that can be chewed. Those items address the comfort and security needs of a person with ASD and can help improve communication during interactions with law enforcement.
Lt. Sarah Krebs, who spearheaded the Michigan State Police involvement in the initiative, says, “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,” and concludes, “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.”
The photo of the mass of calming bags prepped for State Police vehicles accompanying this story on Moody on the Market is courtesy of the Michigan State Police.