North Township and Autism Speaks are working to provide training for police to better identify and relate to children with autism in order to keep them safe.
At the same time, the township is working with families with children who have the disorder to provide fun bracelets that will be an easy identifier.
The program will begin with East Chicago Police and eventually include all agencies in North Township. East Chicago officials have identified 180 special needs families that could benefit from the training. Township Trustee Frank Mrvan credits Assistant Chief Deputy Gilda Orange for starting the program.
The mother of a police officer and an autistic grandson, Orange said she just happened to be in the right place to learn about the training.
“If you didn’t know better, you wouldn’t know my grandson is autistic,” Orange said. “Because he doesn’t process thoughts and emotions like other kids, untrained police might think he is exhibiting dangerous behaviors when he isn’t. This training will help protect Justin and hundreds of others like him.”