The Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma (MCFOK) has generously awarded $25,000 to the Autism Foundation of Oklahoma (AFO) to help educate and provide autism resources to law enforcement professionals. This significant gift will help AFO provide professional development opportunities, interactive community events, and sensory kits for first responders.
A recent study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders found that 1 in 5 young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) will be stopped and questioned by police before the age 21. Young people with autism and a serious psychiatric condition are nine times more likely to have an encounter with law enforcement. Other common contact scenarios may involve elopement, abuse or neglect, and accusations of suspicious behavior.
“We are incredibly grateful to MCFOK for supporting our efforts to keep autistic Oklahomans safe in their communities,” said Emily Scott, Executive Director of AFO. “This gift will provide law enforcement agencies with critical information and resources to improve outcomes at the scene of an emergency or mental health crisis.”
“Not all persons in the autism spectrum can effectively communicate with first responders,” said John Logan, Executive Director. “We hope this grant will provide first responders with additional tools to assist them communicating with and responding to the needs of the autism community.”
The Autism Foundation of Oklahoma is a 501c3 nonprofit with a mission to improve the lives of Oklahomans with autism and their families across the lifespan. AFO specializes in providing education, resources, and program support for early childhood development, workforce development, public safety, and criminal justice reform initiatives.