“Blue Envelope” Program Strives To Improve Interactions Between Police and Drivers With Autism
Interactions between police and individuals with autism can often be fraught with tension due to the sensory sensitivity and verbal communication challenges experienced by many on the autism spectrum. A new initiative passed by lawmakers seeks to improve relations between police and people with autism by providing blue envelopes for drivers on the autism spectrum. The envelopes are meant to hold a driver’s license and registration, while the outside contains information for drivers on traffic stops and tips on how to react.
Under the law, which became effective January 1, 2020, the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles is required to make the blue envelopes available for anyone living with autism. The new initiative is now being adopted by police departments throughout Connecticut, according to a report this month by NBC Connecticut.com. The program has also garnered praise from autism advocates such as the Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center.
“It is going to reduce the stress for everyone involved,” John Flanders, the Center’s executive director, said.
Parents have also expressed support for the Blue Envelope program, including Leona Adamczyk, whose 13-year-old son Matthew has autism.
“It is a more confident feeling for me that the interaction is going to go more smoothly,” Adamczyk said, though she acknowledged that the program needs to be paired with autism training for officers in order to be effective.