Protecting autistic individual in interactions with law

Protecting autistic individual in interactions with law

Published on August 22, 2016

In August, Pensacola Police Sgt. Jimmy Donohoe, in partnership with API, presented an informational training on autism to 54 Escambia County Sheriff’s deputies, bailiffs, and school resource officers. Training our first-responders to recognize behaviors that may be associated with an autistic individual will hopefully improve interactions and outcomes.

Another layer of protection for those on the spectrum comes from the Florida legislature. In April, the legislature passed The Wes Kleinert Fair Interview Act. The act does two things:

  1. Outlines a system for voluntary identification for people with developmental disabilities (this portion of the law goes into effect October 1, 2016)
  2. States that an effort must be made to have professionals with expertise in autism be present at all interviews involving individ- uals diagnosed with autism or autism spectrum disorders (this portion of the law went into effect July 1, 2016).

The Arc, in response to Florida’s legislation, published an editorial with suggestions to strengthen the new law. Read the new legislation, here.