CHICAGO (CBS) — People with developmental disabilities can get wallet cards from the state of Illinois that might be useful if they find themselves in stressful situations with police.
The “Person With A Disability Identification Card” was designed to help de-escalate potentially tense encounters with police or other first-responders, according to state Rep. Stephanie Kifowit (D-Oswego), who sponsored legislation to create the cards.
“The basic idea of the card is a parent with children, or even young adults, or adults in general who are on the autism spectrum disorder can react differently to stressful situations than you and I,” she said. “It’s just an easy, simple way to draw attention to the fact that somebody might need to be approached in a different manner.”
The idea came from Indian Prairie School District 204 Board President Lori Price, whose son has autism.
“Aside from the dysfunctionality of Springfield right now, a lot of good initiatives come from the community and come from concerned parents and individuals,” she said.
The cards are available through the Illinois Secretary of State’s office, and are offered to people with various physical, developmental, visual, hearing, or mental disabilities.
“Primarily, we’re looking at this card to be worked with people with developmental disabilities, such as autism; also with epilepsy or with mental illness, such as schizophrenia, psychological disorders. So, primarily, that’s the category that we’re looking at that would be most beneficial with this card,” she said. “We want to make sure that they’re assured that if they do come into contact with authorities, that the contact’s positive, that there is no altercation, and that we both go away with a good feeling.”
The cards include the person’s name, and the name and phone number of an emergency contact. The cards also can be used when applying for disabled license plates or parking decals, property tax exemptions, or reduced fees for camping sites at state parks.