North Township Police Departments Partner with Autism Speaks to Keep Autistic Children Safe

North Township Police Departments Partner with Autism Speaks to Keep Autistic Children Safe
By: Mandy Haack Last Updated: September 12, 2018

North Township is partnering with the autism advocacy program, Autism Speaks, to provide training for police to better relate to children with autism in order to keep them safe. Alongside that notion, the township is providing families and children who have the disorder with fun bracelets to wear, in hopes to help police officers better identify a child with autism.

Autism Speaks is an autism advocacy organization that has made extraordinary advancements in the autistic community. The organization is dedicated to advancing research to improve treatments for autism, and to increase understanding and acceptance of autism spectrum disorders. Additionally, they work towards solutions for the needs of individuals with autism and their families across the spectrum through advocacy and support.

The program to improve the identification of autistic children will begin with the East Chicago Police Departments and will proceed to include all agencies in North Township. East Chicago officials have identified 180 special needs families that could benefit greatly from this type of assistance and training. Township Trustee Frank Mrvan credits Assistant Chief Deputy Gilda Orange for shedding light on the idea and implementing the program. Assistant Chief Orange is the mother of a police officer and grandmother to Justin, her autistic grandson. She commented that she just happened to be in the right place to learn about the training.

Orange spoke about why this program should be implemented to protect children such as her grandson.

“If you didn’t know better, you wouldn’t know my grandson is autistic,” Orange said. “Because he doesn’t process thoughts and emotions like other kids, untrained police might think he is exhibiting dangerous behaviors when he isn’t. This training will help protect Justin and hundreds of others like him.”

Autism Speaks partners with those who share their goals, ambitions and values. It is clear that North Township is on the same track with that mission. The goals of Autism Speaks can only be achieved through work in communities nationwide such as this one. If you are interested in Autism Speaks and their mission, visit For more information about the work North Township is doing, visit