Is there potential in the use of autism registries? Experiences and perceptions from the autism community

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University of New Brunswick


This research focussed on autists and the autism community’s interactions with law enforcement officers (LEO) and how those interactions differ depending on access to the Vulnerable Persons Registry (VPR) or Autism Registry (AR). Two New Brunswick (NB) autists and three support persons (responding for themselves and four autists) were interviewed concerning aspects of interactions with LEO including perceptions of efficacy, events initiating interactions, and experiences of interactions. To explore VPR/ARs impacts on interactions and perceptions comparisons were made based on the presence and absence of registries. Comparisons noted that there were notable differences in jurisdictions utilizing registries and distinct similarities in perceptions of risk and lack of training. A thematic content analysis was also conducted identifying six categories consisting of 25 themes. Categories included themes surrounding respondent’s perceptions and experiences of Leo's skills, fears associated with interactions with LEOs, and their perceptions of LEO interactions with the autism community. This research acknowledged the intersectionality of disability and approached registries as a tool bridging the social distance between LEO and autists challenging intrinsic stereotypes and impacting soft skill development in the absence of training.