Rotterdam, New York assemblyman, Angelo Santabarbara, will be pitching uniform autism ID badges to help manage autism within his community. (NEWS10)
The pitch is inspired by his son Michael’s struggle with communication due to his autism. When referencing his son’s communication difficulties he said, “It gives one more communication tool where my son may not be able to communicate. Finding this badge, people will know that, and they’ll know how to handle the situation so it’s effective communication.”
These autism ID badges would be issued by the local DMV and would be for the intended purpose of being a helpful resource in situations that are typically complicated by autism such as interactions with first responders, etc. It would be very similar to a government issued non-driver license ID and would contain the individual’s name and photo. On the back of the badge, there would be helpful information about the individual’s condition and might also include emergency contact information.
The assemblyman has begun to gain local support and The Autism Society of the Greater Capital Region is also behind the idea as long as the autism ID badges remain optional. Other states, such as Alabama, have already made this type of badge available.
Director Janine Kruiswijk said, “We’re not looking to label anybody. We don’t feel that there should be mandatory identification. We have a great belief in dignity and choice in our community, and if a tool can provide additional support, that’s fine.” Santabarbara agrees with the notion of making the autism ID badges optional and hopes to be able to bring the proposal before session in January of 2016.