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LVHN Seeks to Aid Drivers with Autism During Traffic Stops | WDIY Local News

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People with autism or similar disabilities may have trouble communicating in high-stress situations like traffic stops. Difficulties with anxiety or processing language or information can lead to misunderstandings or frustration between the driver and police officer.

That frustration is what a new program from LVHN and the Lehigh County Chiefs of Police Association is aiming to prevent. According to a press release, their new Blue Envelope Program has just been launched to help all drivers and law enforcement “better connect when they interact.”

The free program is primarily aimed at drivers on the autism spectrum, although it could also benefit individuals with other communications difficulties or anxiety conditions.

Drivers who fall under the program will be able to carry a blue envelope in their vehicle. On the envelope will be information for law enforcement about whether the driver is verbal or nonverbal and a note that communication struggles could lead to difficulty understanding or answering questions or cause the driver to appear uncomfortable.

The envelope will contain more information on the program and contacts for medical information or assistance for the driver if necessary.

Instructions are also listed for the driver on what to do during a traffic stop. Drivers are instructed upon joining the program to let law enforcement know they have a blue envelope and to show it when asked.

All Lehigh County police officers will be trained on the envelopes. Jill Colabroy, MD, of LVPG Pediatrics says that widespread participation is great, and that the simple tool can help “ease discomfort” while also “building awareness and enhancing interactions.”

Blue envelopes in both English and Spanish can be obtained through a Lehigh County police department, at Lehigh Valley Physician Group Pediatric offices, or by request at LVHN.org/blueenvelope.

James is the News and Public Affairs Director for WDIY. He reports on stories in the Lehigh Valley and across the state which impact the region, along with managing WDIY's volunteers who help create the station's diverse line-up of public affairs programs.
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