Category Archives: News

Launch of tri-Force Autism Alert Card scheme

An alert card and passport scheme aimed at improving how police interact with autistic people has been introduced across London.

The scheme is a joint project between the Metropolitan Police Service, City of London Police and British Transport Police, and is endorsed by the National Police Autism Association. It was developed following extensive consultations with autistic individuals and their parents, the National Autistic Society, Autism Partnership Boards and other partner agencies.

Advice to police officers included on the Alert Card

The cards will alert officers to the fact that the individual may have difficulty with communication and may exhibit unusual or unpredictable behaviour. In turn, officers will be able to adjust their communication style to interact with the individual appropriately. The card also details how autism can present, and provides practical advice for the officer involved.

The scheme was funded by the MPS under the Proceeds of Crime Act, using cash and assets confiscated from criminals.

The alert cards, and larger ‘passports’ carrying the same information, will be distributed and made available through autistic partnership boards and local police across the capital.

For more information about the scheme and how to obtain a card, email autism@met.police.uk

The NPAA would like to extend our thanks to the Forces involved, and to independent autism consultant Amanda Gibbs for including us in this project.

DVLA in U-turn over medical declarations

Agency reverses change to website requiring all autistic drivers to declare their condition

The DVLA has today issued a statement confirming that autistic drivers are only obliged to complete a medical declaration if their condition affects their driving. Twitter users had noticed that the agency’s website had been updated to require drivers to declare autism and ADHD in all cases, a change from the previous wording which requested disclosure only if a person’s ability to drive a vehicle was affected. The updated policy, which had not been announced, warned that drivers failing to disclose the conditions risked a fine of £1,000.

Following several days of discussion on social media and representations from the National Autistic Society, the DVLA released the following statement on their Twitter account:

The changed wording, now restored to the original version

“In our attempt to clarify the advice for drivers with autism spectrum disorders we’ve clearly muddied the waters and we’re very sorry for that. We have amended the advice on http://gov.uk for both drivers and medical professionals which make it clear that a driver who has an autism spectrum disorder only need tell us if their condition could affect their driving.”

An A-Z list of medical conditions which may affect driving can be found on the DVLA website. The wording for autism spectrum disorders and ADHD has now been returned to its original form, advising drivers to tell the DVLA if the conditions “affect your ability to drive safely”.

Driving licence holders seeking further clarification on disclosure of medical conditions are advised to contact the DVLA for advice. ∎

People with hidden disabilities to benefit from Blue Badges

Following a consultation exercise in January 2018, the Department of Transport has announced that from 2019, hidden disabilities such as autism will be included in the Blue Badge scheme. This gives individuals and carers access to disabled parking spaces, which can make a big difference in leading an independent life.

The previous Blue Badge scheme prioritised physical disabilities, with eligibility of autism and other hidden conditions being open to interpretation by local authorities. The new scheme explicitly includes those who:

  • cannot undertake a journey without there being a risk of serious harm to their health or safety or that of any other person (such as young children with autism)
  • cannot undertake a journey without it causing them very considerable psychological distress

More information on the forthcoming changes is available on the Government website. The announcement has been reported by BBC News and other national news websites.