Autism Alert Cards launched in Rotherham
29th January 2015
People with autism living in Rotherham looking for help navigating emergency and other situations are set to benefit from a scheme developed by the National Autistic Society (NAS) and funded by South Yorkshire Police.
Free Autism Alert Cards are now available to people living in Rotherham to order after police funded the printing of 500 cards.
The cards were developed by the NAS to be carried by people with autism and used in situations where communication may be difficult. They are credit-card sized, and clearly labelled with a person’s name, emergency contact details and an information leaflet about autism and how to talk to people with the condition.
Autism affects the way a person communicates with, and relates to, others, as well as how they understand the world around them. This means that they can sometimes become confused or frustrated in situations they are unprepared for such as unexpected encounters with medical or criminal justice professionals such as police officers who may not have come across autism before. Autism Alert cards can be particularly useful in situations like these, providing the necessary advice and information to help an individual with autism to cope and to avoid misunderstandings.
Russell Wells, from the Rotherham branch of the NAS, said: “More than 1 in 100 people in the UK have autism, but far too many people with autism still experience day-to-day difficulties due to a lack of understanding of autism. By working with South Yorkshire Police to make Autism Alert Cards freely available in Rotherham, we hope we will be able to prevent many of these difficulties, and raise people’s awareness of the needs of individuals with autism.
“Autism can have a profound impact on individuals and families but understanding and the right support can make a huge difference.”
Chief Superintendent Jason Harwin, District Commander for Rotherham, said: “We’re delighted to be able to support the NAS with such an important scheme. Our officers come into contact with people from all sections of society, including those with autism, many of whom have additional communication needs.
“People carrying the Autism Alert Card can present it to officers, or anyone else, to help explain their behaviour in times of stress, such as in an accident, or to explain their needs if they are unable to communicate them verbally or struggling to get their message across.
“The Autism Alert Card has a proven track record so we’d encourage as many local people with autism to sign up as possible.”
Each year Rotherham Minster holds a service for the International Day of Prayer for Autism & Asperger’s Syndrome (this year 8 February). The Revd David Bliss was present at the launch of the cards and will be giving more information at this service.
All people with autism are eligible for the free cards, which can be ordered by emailing Russell Wells on 07554439427 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the Autism Alert card and an order form, please visit the NAS website at www.autism.org.uk/card or call NAS Publications on 020 7033 9237.