All parents shudder at the thought of a missing child. For those whose offspring are autistic, the fear is particularly prevalent. In recognition of the need to protect this segment of the community, the New Castle Police Department has become an active participant in a novel venture entitled: Kind Find.
Officer James Dumser, program manager for Kind Find in the town of New Castle learned about the program recently when he attended a seminar called “first responders and individuals with autism; averting crises and preventing disastrous consequences” on March 27. The mission of Kind Find is to have all parents with children on the autistic spectrum register their children with the police department. This will insure that when the department receives a call regarding a certain child or residence, information will instantly appear on their screen, advising them of where the person falls on the spectrum of autism. This knowledge will in turn inform the manner in which the department approaches the individual. “Kind Find will help us out immensely,” Dumser observed.
The program is mutually beneficial for families and the police department. According to Dumser, the interpretation of responses from an autistic individual are not always self-evident. Sometimes, “We think the person is trying to harm us when they are not,” he related. Officers are trained to understand that one-word answers are not always the result of a negative attitude. Instead, they may be the dominant way in which a person communicates.
Information on triggers; actions that set off an autistic individual such as approaching too closely or touching, are especially helpful. Additionally, any insight into what the child responds best to such as trains or video games, will facilitate the department’s efforts to assist.
Registration forms are available at the police department and at ncpd.info/forms. Extensive information on the program is at kind-find.com. Officer Dumser may be reached at 238-4422 or firstname.lastname@example.org.