Headlines from the New York Times for Thursday, September 21, 2017
The Police Need to Understand Autism
(Note: I have a grandson who is on the autism spectrum. I also know many police officers and believe that they have an “impossible” job in today’s environment. I have included a few paragraphs from an article that is worth reading in its entirety.)
Diane Craglow was caring for a 14-year-old autistic boy named Connor Leibel in Buckeye, Ariz., one day in July. They took a walk to one of his favorite places, a park in an upscale community called Verrado. She was not hesitant to leave Connor alone for a few minutes while she booked a piano lesson for his sister nearby, because he usually feels safe and comfortable in places that are familiar to him, and he learns to be more independent that way.
When Ms. Craglow returned, she couldn’t believe what she saw: a police officer looming over the now-handcuffed boy, pinning him to the ground against a tree. Connor was screaming, and the police officer, David Grossman, seemed extremely agitated.
As Ms. Craglow tried to piece together what had happened, more officers arrived, spilling out of eight patrol cars in response to Officer Grossman’s frantic call for backup. Soon it became clear to Ms. Craglow that the policeman was unaware that Connor has autism, and had interpreted the boy’s rigid, unfamiliar movements — which included raising a piece of yarn to his nose to sniff it repeatedly — as a sign of drug intoxication.
As a graduate of Arizona’s Drug Evaluation and Classification program, Officer Grossman is certified as a “drug recognition expert.” But no one had trained him to recognize one of the classic signs of autism: the repetitive movements that autistic people rely on to manage their anxiety in stressful situations, known as self-stimulation or “stimming.” That’s what Connor was doing with the string when Officer Grossman noticed him while he was on patrol.
Readings from the Prophet Hosea for Thursday, September 21, 2017
Hosea 9.17 – Because they have not listened to him, my God will reject them; they shall become wanderers among the nations.
There is a tragic situation mentioned in Ephesians 2.12. Paul describes people as “having no hope and without God in the world.” How do people get to such a painful and broken state? Hosea has the answer. They have chosen to not listen to God.
One of my good friends, who struggles daily with addiction, said this to me one day while we were driving for coffee. He said, “My own best thinking is out to kill me.” Our own best thinking that is separate from God’s direction will end horribly for us.
Prayers for Thursday, September 21, 2017
Dear God, may we exchange our own best thinking for your clear direction in life.