We're Asking Ottawa... October is Autism Awareness Month. True or false: Boys are more likely to have autism than girls.
False The Right Answer: The right answer is true. Boys are four times more likely to have autism than girls.
The Registry for People with Autism is an Ottawa Police 2010 pilot project in partnership with the Ottawa Chapter of Autism Ontario. The online registry promotes communication and gives police quick access to critical information about a registered person with autism in a police emergency by capturing information such as a full description, routine/favourite attractions, communication and other special needs as well as emergency contact information.
This pilot project has been spearheaded by Autism Ontario - Ottawa Chapter. Although registrations will be limited to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), the registry has been developed with the intent to expand into all communities where communication is ineffective when interacting with police. This expansion will be considered upon completion of a formalized evaluation.
You will need to have this “Flag Number” to update the registration on an annual basis, or to make any changes as they become relevant.
During high stress situations, there is no expectation that you remember the number, but merely that the individual has been registered. The Ottawa Police will be able to verify the information using the person’s name once we have been advised of the registration.
Autism Ontario - Ottawa Chapter 211 Bronson Avenue, Suite 210
Ottawa, ON K1R 6H5
Please note: There may be occasions when office staff will be working in the community during regular office hours. Please call or e-mail to confirm first.
Ottawa Police personnel who require this information in the performance of their duties will have access to the information. There are strict regulations with respect to accessing and disseminating information. There is a Police Information Portal (P.I.P.) that is shared by all police agencies; however, consent of the individual involved, or their parent/guardian, is required before any information is shared among police agencies.
You may, however, only information that has a significant impact on policing response will be necessary. Some examples would include a change in address, school, or emergency contact. You do not need to report a change in hair cut or colour, for example, as the police are familiar with the changes that can be made and are more likely to notice height, weight and eye colour. You can send changes to www.ottawapolice.ca/autismregistry.
The renewals are the sole responsibility of the parent/guardian. It is recommended that you renew the registration during the month of the registrant’s birthday.
It is preferable that you let the police know that the individual is already registered. In doing so, the information will be immediately disseminated to the vehicles without having to ask the parents during a high stress situation.
If the individual goes missing and is reported by the parent/guardian, information about his/her physical appearance, the most likely places where he/she would go to, as well as triggers, stimulants, and de-escalation techniques will be sent to every police officer in the area to look for the missing person.
If the individual has not been reported and is incapable of effectively communicating his/her name to an officer, a computer check of the neighbourhood, coupled with the physical appearance, may allow us to identify the individual more quickly. This will then allow us to use the contact information to connect with the parents/guardians.
There is no guarantee with this registry of positive outcome. What the registry allows is the ability for patrol officers to have necessary information faster to begin searching. Also, if an officer comes across a "wandering" child who is unable to communicate, the officer, if they recognize the condition, can have the database queried for persons on the registry that live in the area.
What is important to stress is that simply having a person registered with the registry is not going to change police responses in every instance involving an individual with ASD. Police will act according to procedure depending on circumstances. An individual with ASD can still be arrested. In that case, being registered will assist police in contacting the correct people.
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