We Need Your Help to Fund Our Statewide Driving with Autism Initiative

conference img 3Want to be a part of something big? Aspergers101 has come so far with our Driving with Autism initiative. Now we need to get the word out about the opportunities available for Texas drivers with Autism, and we need your help.

We’re raising funds for the awareness of the new Texas “Driving with Autism” initiative! This program informs and trains law enforcement on best practices for handling people with a Communication Impediment such as Autism, Aspergers, brain injury, Parkinson, deafness and in some cases, Down Syndrome.

Your contribution will help us place these informative brochures and posters into every high school, library, and Autism organization across the state. 100% of the funds raised will go toward printing and mailing costs. We have come so far but we are on our own in funding these crucial resources.

If you believe in what we do and would like to help Aspergers101 in our groundbreaking Driving with Autism initiative, please consider donating today.

To make a contribution go to our Facebook fundraiser:

https://www.facebook.com/donate/10207220018280772/

or our donation page:

Donate

A note from our founder and president, Jennifer Allen:

My son, Sam, has a form of High Functioning Autism called Aspergers Syndrome. We embarked on a program to help those with Autism and other communication impediments drive without fear from a law enforcement encounter. The Texas DPS responded by stepping up and providing “Communication Impediment with a Peace Officer” directly on your driver license or Texas ID.

In addition, we have teamed up to provide new Texas Trooper Recruits training when encountering those with Autism. It’s working! We are now in production for video reenactments showing what “Autism” may look like in a pull over situation. These will be made available to law enforcement state-wide!

Now we have brochures and posters outlining how to get the new driver license restriction code, as well as informative tips from Autistic expert, Dr. Temple Grandin. These will be distributed to High Schools and education centers (free) statewide.

We need help in raising funds for video production for Texas Trooper training, as well as printing and distribution of the posters and brochures statewide. For these costs we are on our own. For more information on the “Driving with Autism” program, including a full video of our announcement from the Texas State Capitol Press Room please go to: https://aspergers101.com/media/

Thank you!

Initiatives to Help Texas Drivers with Communication Challenges

April Press Release

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FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION PRESS RELEASE
April 25, 2016 Media and Communications Office

Initiatives to Help Texas Drivers with Communication Challenges

AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), along with the Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities and Aspergers101, today announced initiatives designed to assist Texans who have communication impairments. In an effort to facilitate effective communication, DPS first reminded Texans of the communication impediment option that drivers may select to be reflected on their driver licenses/ID cards.

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(L to R) Mr. Joe Peters/Asst Director Texas DPS Driver License Division, Major Jason Hester/Texas DPS Education, Training Division, Jennifer Allen/CEO Aspergers101, Samuel Allen/Aspergers101 and speaking, Mr. Ron Lucey/Executive Director Texas Governors Committee on People with Disabilities.

DPS also announced that it has recently coordinated with Aspergers101 to allow them to provide training and education to DPS officers about autism spectrum disorders, other disabilities and potential communications challenges associated with those disorders. In addition, the department announced that it is working with Aspergers101 to develop a Driving With Autism camp that will help increase driver confidence and practical skills.

“At DPS, our mission is to serve and protect the people of Texas,” said DPS Assistant Director for the Driver License Division Joe Peters. “This optional notice on the driver license and ID card puts important information in the hands of our law enforcement officers, which will help them better serve and protect individuals with a communication impediment.”

DPS boosts Training on How to Deal with Drivers with Autism

by Samantha Ketterer- Houston Chronicle

The Texas Department of Public Safety will begin training officers on how to interact with people with autism, one of several initiatives the agency announced Monday to help with traffic stops involving motorists with communication difficulties.

The agency also will expand the definition of “communication impediment,” a notation that appears on driver licenses if a person chooses. The notation previously was aimed at protecting deaf people, but now will be available for those on the autism spectrum.

Maj. Jason Hester, of the DPS Education, Training and Research Division, said the department did not see a specific need for the program before being approached by Aspergers101, an advocacy group on the communication impediment.

“We don’t have any documented incidents,” Hester said. “However, we just think that it was a great initiative to have the additional information, to have that out there. We have a responsibility to provide for a safer Texas.”

Samuel Allen, who is 21 and has autism, said people with communication impediments may not understand figures of speech and could react to a police officer in a way that he could see as disrespectful.

conference img 3“Learning to drive can be a very scary concept, and especially moreso if you have high-functioning autism or Aspergers,” said Samuel Allen, the son of Aspergers101 founder Jennifer Allen. “I feel protected knowing that ‘communication impediment’ is printed on my driver’s license.”

Aspergers101 also is collaborating with the agency in providing “Driving with Autism” summer camps to help people with communication difficulties learn how to drive and interact with police officers.

Ron Lucey, executive director of the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities, voiced his support for the initiatives, saying they can help people with autism be more “transportation independent.”

Announcing: “Driving with Autism” Texas Decal

Order yours today!

The Autism community is a tight-knit group. We grieve together, learn together, fight together and celebrate together…that’s just how we roll! Great strides in Texas have been made recently educating law enforcement on Autism and other communication impediment disorders. Through the Aspergers101 “Driving with Autism” initiative, Texas Trooper Recruits are being trained specifically for understanding the autistic traits they may encounter such as delayed response, coping mechanisms and nervous ticks during a typical pull-over. This coupled with the Driver License Restriction Code, Communication Impediment with a Peace Officer available directly on the Driver License or Texas ID will soon set the stage for other states to follow.

Maybe you are driving and have Autism, Aspergers or other challenges with communication and want this to be recognized, or perhaps you are a parent, relative, friend or supporter of someone who does…either way…Aspergers101 is proud to offer the official “Driving with Autism” decal for your vehicle!drivig-with-autism-decal-with-texas-2

Offered as either a magnet or vinyl decal, this full-color decal is a generous 6 inches in diameter. Best yet, all proceeds go to support the free “Driving with Autism”printed materials (brochures, posters, booklets) offered to schools, libraries and autism organizations throughout the great State of Texas. You can order here: Driving with Autism Decal

How a community designed our logo

Ever hear of the brilliant eco-artist, Grant Manier? Grant and his amazing Mom (talk about a supportive parent) Julie M Coy suggested a car decal for our “Driving with Autism” initiative. Grant got to work and offered us the artwork that established the foundation for our final product. Julie continued supporting and lending her efforts until a final design was voted on by you our readers and supporters! Overwhelming response with differing opinions and suggestions which formed our final logo! Thank you for your involvement and we at Aspergers101 will continue to work on behalf of our Autism Community…in Texas and beyond!

-Jennifer Allen/Founder Aspergers101

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by: Eco-Artist Grant Manier

Julie M Coy, Grant Manier

To see more of Grant Manier’s amazing work, go to: Artwork by Eco-Friendly Artist Grant Manier

Driving While Autistic

Having lived in several different cities, I can attest that it most certainly is not a regional thing: you’ll run into idiot drivers no matter where you live. It isn’t profound at all; many casual conversations begin with a gripe about traffic on the way to someplace or another, or end up there eventually. Driving is a serious source of stress for many, even under the best circumstances. And for people diagnosed with Autism, they are already functioning under decidedly less than the best of circumstances, and the idea of getting behind the wheel can cause anxiety.

I found that I did not have a great deal of difficulty behind the wheel. Having a nice, large, rarely-traveled stretch of land to practice on, and taking as many opportunities to practice, is the first thing I recommend for those who are diagnosed and want to drive. It certainly helped me. After enough practice, it became second-nature.

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Contrary to the assumption that driving is the natural enemy of the Autistic because it demands multi-tasking, it really isn’t so difficult as all that. It has a nice and structured set of regulations, and your task is simple: start at one location, and control the vehicle in order to safely reach the next. Anyone who has ever played a game, whether analog or digital, can tell you that while rules and setup are intimidating at first, once you see how it’s done and try it for yourself, it isn’t as hard as all that.

To the Autistic person who wants to learn to drive but feels rather intimidated, just think of it as a video game. Yes, you have to keep track of your position, your life meter, your equipment, environmental hazards and your teammates, but in the end, it’s not an impossible or even overwhelming task, and after a while, things that seemed foreign and challenging become natural. You may even have a lot of fun behind the wheel.

New Drivers License Restriction Code for Autism? It’s in the works!

Whether to drive with High Functioning Autism or Aspergers Syndrome is as individual a question as is the person. For many there is no interest in obtaining a drivers license as public transportation more than serves the purpose. For others, the heightened sensory issues and accompanying ADD make driving an almost dangerous venture. However, for those truly wanting the independence that driving can bring but fear the strong potential for communication mis-understanding with a law enforcement officer….we may have some good news that’s on the horizon!

Sam DL backsideIn the United States, the Department of Motor Vehicles or Department of Transportation policies varies from state to state.  Though many countries/states have various polices in place concerning driving with an impairment or disability, it’s not enough….we need more.

My son Sam (age 20) and I reside in the State of Texas and presented a plan that would notify law enforcement, through a drivers license restriction, of autism in an individual. A newly assigned restriction code would alert an officer of the law that this person has Autism and is wired differently: most likely not understanding sarcasm, social cues nor respond well to threats or loud sounds. The restriction “Communication Impediment with a Peace Officer” is available through Texas DPS.

As it stands today, if you live in the State of Texas (hopefully other states will soon follow suit) here are the steps you need to take to get this protective/restriction code on your drivers license.

Adding Communication Impediment to y
our driver license is simple:

1) Have your physician complete and sign
a Physician’s Statement Form (DL101) affirming the autism diagnosis. 

2) Visit your local driver license office for
a driver license application (DL14A/S). Be sure and complete Line 7 (or like the Texas Veterans Commission, you could extract the line from the form for emphasis)

For all Texas Driver License forms go to www.dps.texas.gov/DriverLicense

Aspergers and Driving – Help us Transform the DPS System!

It's #GivingTuesday...Take Part!

 

Aspergers101 is helping to safely put those with Autism/Aspergers behind the wheel!

Working with the Texas DPS, Dr. Temple Grandin, and our State Legislature (R-Lyle Larson), Aspergers101 has begun a 2-year initiative titled: “Driving Safely with Autism/Aspergers Syndrome”. This project involves marketing the new Texas drivers license restriction code: Communication Impediment with a Peace Officer, and implementing changes that will enhance communication/understanding between the law and a person with Autism/Asperger Syndrome or other communication impediments. Poster

Started by the mom of a son with Aspergers Syndrome, Aspergers101.org is a 501c3 non-profit that was recently awarded the #2 slot on The Top Ten Worldwide Websites List on the topic of Autism/Aspergers Syndrome!
Thank you for your consideration of supporting this ground-breaking endeavor. Texas would lead the country with the implementation of such a program. You will soon see a section on the Aspergers101 website offering updated information on the status of the two-year project which includes posters (pictured), tri-fold brochures (both in Spanish and English), training video modules and Texas DPS amendments during the January 2017 Legislative Session.
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Pictured (l to r) Mr. Joe Peters (Assistant Director Driver License Division/Texas DPS, Frances Gomez/Manager, License and Records Service, and Brian Riemenschneider, Assistant General Counsel, Samuel Allen/Aspergers101, Jennifer Allen/Founder Aspergers101, JoeAnna Mastracchio/Deputy Assist Director Customer Support Texas DPS and Brian Riemenschneider/Asst General Counsel

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Dr. Temple Grandin and Samuel Allen get together in Ft. Worth, TX to discuss Autism and Communication Impediment as a restriction code.

Driver’s License Code for Autism? It’s in the works!

Whether to drive with High Functioning Autism or Aspergers Syndrome is as individual a question as is the person. For many there is no interest in obtaining a drivers license as public transportation more than serves the purpose. For others, the heightened sensory issues and accompanying ADD make driving an almost dangerous venture. However, for those truly wanting the independence that driving can bring but fear the strong potential for communication miSam DL backsides-understanding with a law enforcement officer…we may have some good news that’s on the horizon!

In the United States, the Department of Motor Vehicles or Department of Transportation policies varies from state to state.  Though many countries/states have various polices in place concerning driving with an impairment or disability, it’s not enough….we need more.

My son Sam (age 20) and I reside in the State of Texas and presented a plan that would notify law enforcement, through a drivers license restriction, of autism in an individual. A newly assigned restriction code would alert an officer of the law that this person has Autism and is wired differently: most likely not understanding sarcasm, social cues nor respond well to threats or loud sounds. The restriction “Communication Impediment with a Peace Officer” is available through Texas DPS. Once established with internal coding in the T-LETS (Texas Law Enforcement Telecommunications System), any law officer would know prior to approaching the vehicle, that the driver has challenges with communication. That part (T-LETS) is not yet established but is currently being looked at within the DPS as is the restriction code being placed on the front of the drivers license as well as the back.

As it stands today,