Scenario 3 – Autism

Because Everyone's A Gift

In this scenario we will explore best practices towards:Dealing with annoying/aggravating people
Managing stressful situations
Identifying autistic characteristics
How to identify people with special needs
In the following scenario keep an eye out for these characteristics: • Flapping
• Defying authority
• Sensory overload (Not complying with commands)
• Problems identifying authority or knowing what to do in high stress situations.
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911 receives a call from a woman about possible domestic abuse. The lady that called in sounded frightened as her neighbor is reportedly screaming and what sounds like banging on the walls. She tells the officer that the house doesn’t often see visitors and usually seems pretty quiet, but for the past week, she has been worried about noise going on in the apartment next door.

Tom, a police officer, arrives on the scene. He proceeds by knocking on the door and announcing himself “Open up, this is the police.” He hears some sounds from behind the door, indicating someone is definitely home. He waits, knocks again, and announces, “Open up, this is the police!” After a few moments, he is greeted by an uneasy male voice. “Okay, what do you want?” Tom asks for the man to open the door again. “No,” says the man, he sounds frightened. Tom then responds, “I just want to ask a few questions, could you open the door?” The man responds “Can you ask them from there? I don’t like visitors.” Tom states “No problem, we heard some noises coming from this apartment, your neighbor sounded worried.”

“That b***h should mind her own business,” The man continued, “I’ve only been here a few weeks and she’s calling the cops on me for NOTHING.” Tom responds “Calm down, sir. I’m sure we can get to the bottom of this. Could you open the door so we can talk?”  The door swings open abruptly. “There, you happy? Are we done here?” The man is now standing in front of Tom, flailing his arms up and down.

Tom draws his taser and steps back exclaiming “Calm down! Stop shouting!” The man continues to flap his arms up and down and bangs on the wall. Tom, startled, fires the taser – sending the man to the ground.

What signs of neuro-divergence did the subject exhibit?

Subject Was Flapping His Arms, Punching The Wall, And Yelling

The Subject Demonstrated Self Stimulation – Autism

Many people with autism engage in self stimulation or “Stimming”. This can take on the form of flapping, screaming, knocking, or really any other activity that helps them self regulate their emotions.

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Unregulated Emotions

The Subject May Also have Autism

a developmental disorder of variable severity that is characterized by difficulty in social interaction and communication and by restricted or repetitive patterns of thought and behavior.
In this case, it may have manifested in the subject’s emotions being harder for him to regulate.

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There are a few places that Tom could have acted differently. Since we can see another way that Autism can manifest, let’s look at the situation again.

911 receives a call from a woman about possible domestic abuse. The lady that called in sounded frightened as her neighbor is reportedly screaming and what sounds like banging on the walls. She tells the officer that the house doesn’t often see visitors and usually seems pretty quiet, but for the past week, she has been worried about noise going on in the apartment next door.

Tom, a police officer, arrives on the scene. He proceeds by knocking on the door and announcing himself “Open up, this is the police.” He hears some sounds from behind the door, indicating someone is definitely home. He waits, knocks again, and announces, “Open up, this is the police!” After a few moments, he is greeted by an uneasy male voice. “Okay, what do you want?” Tom asks for the man to open the door again. “No,” says the man, he sounds frightened. Tom notices that the man seems agitated. But is it because he’s up to no good, or is there some other reason?
Tom then responds, “I just want to ask a few questions, could you open the door?” The man responds “Can you ask them from there? I don’t like visitors.” Tom states “No problem, we heard some noises coming from this apartment, your neighbor sounded worried.”

“That b***h should mind her own business,” The man continued, “I’ve only been here a few weeks and she’s calling the cops on me for NOTHING.”
Tom assures the man, “We just want to talk with you about the noise. You’re not in trouble.”
After a short pause, the man replies, “No, I guess I can let you in. I’m having a real f***in’ bad time, though.” Tom says, “Great, thanks,” and opens the door. The man inside the apartment is flailing his arms in an aggravated manner, making a lot of noise. He looks nervous, but not afraid or frustrated. His eyes dart around the room as if looking for something. Even though he is fidgeting, Tom notices that the man doesn’t seem to be upset at Tom, specifically.

The man’s tone has lost some of its anger, and instead sounds more annoyed with his neighbor. Tom decides he’s okay to continue asking questions about the noise complaint without risking harm to his life. The man is cooperative, but also keeps moving around the room, making little gestures with his hands. Tom also notices some fist-sized dents in the wall.
Tom learns that the hand motions and are the man’s way of expressing emotions, and that he does so when he gets upset. When asked why he was upset, the man says, “It’s my ex. She wants to get back together with me, but I’m not ready.” The man starts pacing around the room.

Tom offers to connect him to a counselor, one that can help regulate his emotions. The man agrees, and Tom hands him the phone. As he walks away, the man continues to pace. Tom notices that the man’s movements have slowed down considerably. He stops pacing, and as he vents his frustrations, Tom realizes that the man is no longer upset. The man says that he will call the counselor after work, and hangs up the phone.
The man then says, “Thanks, I’ll be okay now.” Tom says, “No problem,” and leaves the apartment. He returns to the squad car, and tells the dispatcher that everything went well.

Armed with a bit of knowledge and using empathy, this officer was able to de-escalate the situation without causing harm to the special needs individual.


Conclusion