Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Parents Provide Police with Autism Insight

GLENDALE, Calif. -- Don Short and Tamara Mark’s encounter with law enforcement hasn’t always been positive, especially when they have been trying to care for their two autistic sons.
During a family trip in Hawaii, Short had to restrain one of the couple’s son’s — 10-year-old Harry, who is nonverbal and prone to injuring himself — because he became extremely agitated at a Honolulu airport. But to the public, his actions looked like child abuse. He was reported to airport police.
As Short tried to calm his son, police warned him to let go of his son. He reluctantly complied. His son ended up biting an officer on the knee. And it wasn’t until after the scuffle that officers learned that Harry was autistic.
With similarly traumatic experiences behind them, the couple reached out to Glendale police on Tuesday to give officers insight into the challenges autistic children can pose in the field.

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