ASD for Police

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Feb 23, 2014 (3 years and 5 months ago)

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ASD for Police

Developed by Jason Johnson and Jo Dowell

July 2012

Based on the New Zealand Autism Spectrum Disorder
Guideline and adapted from

‘Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): A resource for educators


Whakapūpūtia mai ō mānuka kia kore ai e whati

Cluster the branches of the mānuka so that they
will not break

Acknowledgements and thanks

Many thanks to:


Mark (not his real name) and his parents, for agreeing to
share Mark’s experiences. They say they are more than
happy to think that their story will help others


Senior Sergeant Alison Ealam, Greymouth Police, who
requested this professional learning package


Deborah Lipsky, the author of ‘Managing Meltdowns’, for
permission to reference her books. We acknowledge
Deborah as the creator of the S.C.A.R.E.D. technique


Mat Friedman, for his cartoons


Dr Paul Taylor, for permission to refer to his analogy
between PC and Apple Mac computers


What is ASD?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the name for a
group of conditions where a person has a noticeable
delay or difficulty in
three

important areas of
development:


communication


s
ocial interaction


thinking

In addition, many children with ASD under
-

or over
-
react to
sensory information

All cartoons by Mat Friedmann, copyright 2009
-
2012:
www.dudeimanaspie.com


His blog promotes a greater understanding of people on the autism spectrum
and gives you a window into his everyday life, its highs and lows, with both
honesty and humour.


What is it like to be a person with ASD?

Each person with ASD will be very different

because of:


their level of difficulties in each area


their family setting and circumstances


their level of intellectual ability


individual factors such as personality

Some people with ASD also have other disorders (such
as epilepsy)

More about ASD


ASD (autism spectrum disorder) includes autism
and Asperger syndrome, as well as some other
disorders with similar features


ASD is a developmental disorder. What you
might see will vary with age and will vary over
time


There is also a group of people who have
significant difficulties in one or two of these
areas, but who may not meet the criteria for an
ASD


Communication characteristics

People with ASD:


often develop communication or language later than
their peers


may have unusual ways of making themselves
understood


can have difficulty in understanding others


sometimes use language in an unusual way


do not always understand gesture, facial expression

or body language.

Social interaction characteristics

People with ASD may:


not join in with play or social opportunities


like to do things on their own


not respond to greetings, smiles or waving


not know how to share their toys or things of interest
to other people


have difficulty with conversation, social situations, or
social rules.

Thinking or behaviour characteristics

People with ASD may:


prefer routine and structure, and like to do things

in a particular way or order


dislike change or moving from one place or activity

to another


have poor organising or problem
-
solving skills


have unusual movement patterns


have strong interests in particular subjects
.


Sensory characteristics

People with ASD can sense things differently and:


react to loud noises or particular smells


under
-

or over
-
react to pain


have difficulties with their personal space


react to different textures (shiny, smooth, rough)


have unusual motor movements (such as toe
walking)


react to visual stimuli (busy environments, bright
lights)

At times it is necessary to make some adaptations to
their environment to ensure their well being.




Minimise stress


Prevent behaviour that leads to
victimisation or criminal offending


Teach legal rights


Prepare information in advance in
case of contact with police


Families and whānau need to
know how to support person with
ASD if in contact with the police

NZ ASD Guideline part 5: Living in the
community


relevant recommendations


Police and other services need to know:


How to recognise when a person
has ASD


The impact of ASD on the behaviour
of the person, and their likely
responses to others


Strategies to ensure that the legal
rights of all people concerned are
upheld


How to communicate effectively with
people with ASD

Recommendations

Typical behaviour escalation







Adapted from chart on: http://www.autism
-
help.org/behavior
-
intro
-
autism.htm

1.
Bright lights

2.
Pain

3.
Noisy environment

4.
Tired

5.
Tone of voice

6.
Being told off

7.
Difficulty
processing
information


1.
Close curtain

2.
Offer Panadol *

3.
Offer reassurance

4.
Redirect to
quieter place

5.
Ask if he wants a
break

6.
Use neutral tone

7.
Ask one question
at a time

An example:





Sudden change
, being taken by surprise, caught off
guard


Not understanding
reason for sudden change


People in authority
failing to explain
, carefully,
sequentially, and descriptively what will happen in any
situation


Someone failing to respond to question in
concrete,
literal
way


Sensory overload


Being asked to
multitask

or integrate
multiple


sensory inputs

Notes used with personal permission from ‘
Managing Melt Downs; Using S.C.A.R.E.D Calming
Technique with Children and Adults with Autism’

(Lipsky D., and Richards W., 2009)


‘Catastrophic reactions’ primarily due to



Pacing
back and forward or in circles


Increasing self


stimulating behaviours (
stimming
) for
example, flapping hands


Perseverating

on one topic


Repeating words or phrases (
echolalia
)


Difficulty answering questions (
cognitive breakdown
)


Stuttering

or
slow speech


Resistance to disengaging from ritual


Becoming

mute

Warning signs of potential meltdown

Take your slip of paper, read and
discuss:


what is the response suggested?


why is it suggested?


any implications, reflections or
thoughts in relation to your work?


Share back thoughts to the rest of the
group







Activity

A
pproach the person in a quiet, non
-
threatening manner

U
nderstand that touch may cause ‘fight or flight’

T
alk in a moderate, calm voice

I
nstructions should be simple and direct

S
eek all indicators, evaluate and adjust your actions
accordingly

M
aintain a safe distance

Based on “Contact with Individuals with Autism: Effective Resolutions” by Dennis
Debbaudt and Darla Rothman PhD that appeared in ‘The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin’,
April 2001

What is an appropriate
response?


The
S.C.A.R.E.D

technique


S
AFE


C
ALM


A
FFIRMATION


R
OUTINE


Don’t: touch, restrain or leave alone

Do: Remove
unwanted

stimulation or guide to
less stimulating environment, remove social
pressure

Don’t: try to ‘reason’ with individual, get angry

Do: talk in strong, calm, reassuring voice, use
concrete, literal, descriptive language, ask for
clarification

Don’t: ask unnecessary or open ended
questions, challenge emotional or verbal
responses

Do: Use name, validate individual,
acknowledge that they are doing their best

Don’t interfere with harmless routines

Do: reflect behaviour by mirroring, encourage
routine as means for gaining self control, and
provide environmental supports, offer
reassurance

Don’t: Lecture about effect behaviour is
having on others, humiliate or shame,
demand eye contact

Do: Put yourself in their shoes,
acknowledge and identify with their
fear, show you are there to support the
person and not to make them do
something they don’t understand

Don’t: rely on generic strategy, develop
strategy without consultation with
individual and their family

Do: work with individual to develop
concrete behaviour strategies for
assistance during meltdown

The
S.C.A.R.E.D

technique continued

E
MPATHY





D
EVELOP
INTERVENTIONS
/ STRATEGY

Wherever possible take time to restore the relationship
with individual and family by visiting after the event


Profile for Mark



DOB
9/8/98

Parents: Rachael and Graeme Parks

20 Safe Street, Greymouth

Ph: (03) 777 7777

Medical diagnosis
: Pervasive Developmental Disorder



Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder



Moderate Intellectual Disability

Mark is medicated but for up
-
to
-
date information on what he is currently taking his parents need to be consulted
as this can change often. Mark’s diagnoses place him on the autism spectrum, meaning that he has underlying
delays with his communication skills, his social skills and his cognition, often displayed through his challenging
behaviour. Associated with this is his lower intellectual functioning shown predominately through his adaptive
(life) skills. Some of Mark’s challenging behaviour is hard for him to control due to his disability but there is an
element of learnt behaviour that gains Mark the desired response from others. Consistent and firm responses to
challenging behaviour
prior to escalation
are necessary for Mark to learn strategies to cope across settings.

Appropriate responses to behaviour:


Be aware of changes in Mark’s subtle behaviour


twitches, flicking, ripping and hoarding material/equipment.


Offer heavy lifting activities when he appears anxious


Speaking to Mark in calm, clear, short direct phrases.


Ensuring he knows what is happening by using short simple phrases


Provide him with opportunities to show you that he is calming while still being aware and vigilant of his state
of arousal.


Give space if needed, he likes to run; this may help him to blow off steam. Follow him in the least obvious
way possible.


Restraint is the last resort and is best done by two people who are trained in appropriate techniques.

A positive example from a family

After an initial response to a police call out where Mark was displaying
aggression special education staff developed a ‘profile’ with Mark and his
family to raise awareness about his individual needs. Senior Sergeant
Allyson Ealam set up a folder in the watch house to collect these profiles.
Using information from the profile police have effectively deescalated a
number of situations involving Mark in a calm and supportive manner
.

Key points from family interview:


“They don’t just think he is another ‘bad kid’ from a ‘bad family’”



A call out for supposed ‘drunk and disorderly’ behaviour worked out ok
because the police recognised who Mark was



“Before the profile we had to stay on the phone to COMS the whole time
and we couldn’t go looking for Mark. We had to answer lots of questions
and repeat information to different people”



A friend’s boy with special needs is now frightened by police because of
his negative impression after the first experience (behaviour escalated,
had to be restrained by 5 officers) Mark likes police!


Key points from family interview continued



“They are a lot more understanding now, they know most of the
behaviour is out of Mark’s control”


“Victim support was organised in case we needed it, we get great help”



“[the officer] changed the topic to draw Mark into a different discussion,
like we do, rather than talking about the problem”


“They talk to Mark like a human being, at his level, and listen to his side
of the story when he is ready to speak (‘come on, mate, what’s going
on…’ , ‘he sat on my bed and talked to me about my car collection
(special interest))”


“They make it personal and really care about us rather than just being
another statistic

A suggestion from Dad….

“Consider having a folder of profiles in main centres where 111 calls are
managed. They could pass information about the child to the first
respondent. Just like you would for a violent offender. Families like us
wouldn’t mind updating the photo once a year.”

A final word from the family:


Thank you, you are brilliant!”


Prevalence and cause


The wider spectrum of ASD is thought to affect about
1% of the population or more than 40,000 New
Zealanders


The cause(s) of ASD are not known, but genetic
factors are considered important


While there is no cure, a great deal is known about
how to
minimise

the impact of the condition and many
children (and young people) make good progress


Many studies suggest that parental concerns about
developmental delays in their children are usually

well
-
founded



Altogether Autism
-

www.altogetherautism.org.nz



Autism NZ


Local name/phone

www.autismnz.org.nz



Ministry of Education
-

www.minedu.govt.nz



Local contacts


Ministry of Education




CYF




CAMHS









Further information