Berkshire Autism Alert Card relaunch
Launched in 2010 to provide an easy way for autistic people in Berkshire - and their carers - to explain their condition quickly and easily to others and give cardholders and their families more confidence to go out and about. More than 1,800 cards are now in use.
To mark its 10th anniversary in 2020, it was decided to give the card a fresh look and to expand the scope of the scheme, with the support of Thames Valley Police. The project secured a grant from the Thames Valley Police & Crime Commissioner’s Police Property Act Fund.
Drawing on experiences with what are known in some areas as Pegasus cards, it was agreed that cardholders – or the person applying their behalf, such as parents and support workers – could choose to share information about their autism and any individual support needs with the police, to help officers and other emergency service personnel when assisting cardholders.
If someone opts to share this information when applying for or renewing an alert card, the details are held in a secure police database and can be accessed if officers are shown an alert card.
Police officers across Berkshire are being trained about the card in a rolling programme, starting in the Reading and Bracknell & Wokingham policing areas, with West Berkshire, Slough and Windsor & Maidenhead to follow. It is hoped that similar schemes will be introduced in future to cover the rest of the Thames Valley.
• It remains a condition of the scheme that all applications must be accompanied by proof of an autism diagnosis for the cardholder, such as a diagnosis letter, or a statement from a health or education professional.
Full details about the Berkshire Autism Alert Card and an online application form are available at www.autismberkshire.org.uk/berkshire-autism-alert-card/
An application form can also be downloaded from this page and printed copies are available on request from Autism Berkshire – email firstname.lastname@example.org