Members of Bournemouth Drop In Group receive the first Autism Alert Cards for Bournemouth, Dorset & Poole from Bob Lowndes, Chief Executive of Autism Wessex

Members of Bournemouth Drop In Group receive the first Autism Alert Cards for Bournemouth, Dorset & Poole from Bob Lowndes, Chief Executive of Autism Wessex
L-R: Steve Davis, Anna Goulder, Bob Lowndes, James Hall, Michael Cripps, Ollie Gray

Funded by Dorset Police, Autism Wessex is launching the autism alert card scheme in Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole.

Alert cards will be issued free of charge to people aged 10 years and over who are on the Autism Spectrum, including those with Asperger syndrome. The credit card sized cards are designed to be carried at all times and to be shown if a person with autism needs help or needs to give an explanation.

Karen Wilmshurst, Advocacy Manager at Autism Wessex said: “We are very excited to be launching this scheme. The alert card will help people when they are feeling vulnerable. Autism can mean people have communication difficulties which can make them anxious and behave in manner that could be alarming so by showing the card a person with autism is able to get the right help when they need it.”

The autism alert card includes simple, practical advice, the cardholder’s name and two emergency contacts.

The scheme will also provide autism awareness training to Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole police officers, Kaz Brown, Strategic People, Confidence and Equality Manager from Dorset Police said “We are delighted to be able to fund the start up costs of this scheme and the training programme for all our officers. The training we are receiving from Autism Wessex is very important; we want to be able to support the community as best we can so being alerted to a person with autism is very helpful. The cards will assist us, and other emergency services, to identify that we are dealing with a person with autism so we can use clear, simple language, ask specific questions and allow extra time for the person to respond as well as alerting their emergency contact that they may need support.”

People with autism can have difficulty with communication, interaction and imagination which can put them at a disadvantage when their actions and behaviour are misinterpreted. People with autism can also have difficulty understanding social situations and language so may behave unpredictably. Karen continues “Autism is invisible. Many people with autism speak fluently but may lack full understanding, being able present people with an alert card will ensure people can get the right help.”

For more information or to apply for an alert card visit www.autismwessex.org.uk

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