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  • Minnesota's First Autism Resource®

    Autism Society of Minnesota

Family, Caregiver, and Individuals with Autism Emergency Preparedness

boywithfirefighterwebAll families, caregivers, and individuals with autism need to be prepared for emergencies, including fire, severe weather, injury, or encounters with first responders or law enforcement professionals. The following tools are designed to give you strategies for possible emergency scenarios and tips on achieving successful outcomes.

AuSM provides Emergency Preparedness training to families, organizations, communities, and other professionals. To set up an AuSM autism training, please contact AuSM's education department at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 651.647.1083.

Emergency Preparedness Fact Sheet
A quick and basic guide for families, caregivers, and individuals with autism. Click here to access the document.

Emergency Forms for Families and Individuals
Click here to download a pdf of several emergency forms that can be completed by families and individuals with autism and shared with first responders.

5ptscaleAutism 5-Point Scale Emergency App
The Autism 5-Point Scale Emergency app is free and downloadable through the iTunes store for iPods and iPads. This app helps individuals with ASD communicate with family, caregivers, first responders and other personnel in emergency situations. Click here to download the Autism 5-Point Scale Emergency app from the iTunes store.

The Autism 5-Point Scale Emergency app also is available for Android devices. Click on the following links to access the app for your Android devices.

Google Play for Phone and Tablet
Amazon App Store for Kindle Fire and Fire Phone

The Incredible 5-Point Scale, Kari Dunn Buron and Mitzi Curtis, Autism Asperger Pub. Co., 2003.

What Can The Police Do? Advice For Parents Dealing With Law Enforcement

By Jason Schellack, Esq
Autism Advocacy & Law Center, LLC

Many parents call law enforcement for assistance with an escalating situation at home and are unpleasantly surprised by the outcome. Law enforcement officers have broad authority when it comes to interviewing witnesses, collecting evidence, and investigating crimes.

If the police arrive at your house, they are almost certainly audio recording any conversations they have with you and others present. They police do not have to ask for your permission to record a conversation. They also do not have to notify you that they are recording the conversation. Any conversation you or a family member have with the police can make you a potential witness in a criminal case.  

The police also have much discretion when it comes to charging individuals with crimes. Many people mistakenly believe that it is up to a crime victim to decide whether to “press charges.” This is not true.  The police decide whether to charge someone with a crime, even if the victim does not want the matter to go to court. If you have talked to the police, you may be subpoenaed to testify in court. If subpoenaed, you will have to testify, whether you agree with the charges or not.

Sometimes calling law enforcement is the best thing you can do to protect yourself and your family.  It is important to understand, however, that by seeking assistance from law enforcement, you may set into motion a process over which you have little control.