Linden, a 13-year-old autistic boy was just shot several times by police after his mom called for help as her son was having a mental health issue.
I know personally what it’s like for the police to show up at my family’s home because I was having a mental health issue. However, it necessarily doesn’t mean because I want to run away that I want to be attacked brutally by law enforcement.
Parents, such as Linden’s mom only do this as a last resort. They don’t expect their child to be shot.
All they are asking for is help for what they cannot control and get their child the proper care that they need and assure that all parties involved are safe.
There has to be more avenues for autistics and families of autistics to reach out nationwide. This can include better staffed warmlines, crisis lines, and Crisis Intervention Teams.
But with Law Enforcement comes negative attention. Autistic families are apprehensive about being in the spotlight of police activity and only want the best for their child.
I personally have read too many stories in the past year of autistics being victimized or being placed in inappropriate settings simply because the “right fit” isn’t available for them.
We as a autism community must retool the way we educate the public in approaching autistics and their traits and common behaviors and triggers when approached by first responders, such as law enforcement.
I personally at times am apprehensive to be around law enforcement because of the simple stigma of being profiled and of doing something wrong at that very moment that could result in a negative outcome.
The shooting of this young teen in his time of need should call for reforms in better universal training among all branches of Law Enforcement in regards to Autism awareness and care and understanding of thought processes.
We must do something before this situation presents itself again and may have a more tragic outcome.
Linden is now recovering and there is an investigation underway. The incident happened in Glendale Utah. Advocates such as myself have gone onto social media to ask for more nationwide first responder & Crisis Intervention Training. #autism #firstresponder