The judicial system is challenging enough to navigate. The entire process of being questioned for a crime is meant to disorient a person into revealing the truth. There are very few protocols in place to cater to a person with different communication needs. There are very few police departments or courts set up to recognize a person on the autism spectrum. Even those who may understand that the person they are detaining is on the spectrum may not have the skillset or care enough to make provisions for that person.
Finding a guide for the process
When a person with autism is charged with a crime, they need every person in their case to have the most basic knowledge of addressing their special needs. This experience has to extend to their attorney, law enforcement, the presiding judge and anyone else interacting with them. Here are some of the provisions that a person with autism needs to get fair treatment:
- An autism spectrum diagnosis or the presence of autism tendencies are essential pieces of information for police and other personnel.
- This diagnosis is as important as any other cognitive or psychiatric condition, no matter how high functioning or articulate a person might be.
- A family member, medical professional or someone that knows the person well needs to describe how the person thinks, communicates and reacts to the way people behave around them or bring across information.
- Each person is unique, so the aid of someone who knows them well is crucial.
Giving someone their best chance at fair treatment
The lack of familiarity and a heightened emotional state could create a highly variable communication. Some may not even be able to speak under these conditions. Don’t let the legal system mistreat a person with autism. Make sure that your relative gets the best treatment available under the law.