Akron Police Sgt. Mark Farrar knows the facts of autism in his head and the pain of autism in his heart.
With the incidence of autism rising rapidly — 1 in 88 children (and 1 in 54 boys) are born with some form of it — law-enforcement agencies are being affected because, Farrar says, the autistic are seven times as likely as others to come into contact with first responders such as police, fire and paramedics. They also are more likely to be crime victims.
“We talk about autism in kids as if they mysteriously disappear when they become adults,” Farrar said yesterday at Attorney General Mike DeWine’s “Two Days in May” crime-victims conference in the Hyatt Regency. “Those kids are growing up, becoming adults, living in our communities. We can’t assume first responders know how to deal with them on their own.”