Getting in a car accident or getting pulled over by police (even if you know you're doing something wrong) can be nerve-racking enough.

Your adrenaline gets a massive boost, your heart feels like it's beating out of your chest (and/or possibly feels like it'll fall out your butt), and it feels like someone grabs a strangle hold of whatever anatomy flows up and down your chest.

Your lungs tighten, your legs start to tingle, and you feel like you're breaking out into a cold sweat, even though there's probably not an actual drop formed anywhere on your body.

And that's what most people go through that haven't been diagnosed with any type of disorder, learning difference, or anxiety. Enter the kindness of the Topsham Police Department to help out in such cases of a diagnosis through their Blue Envelope program.

vejaa / Photo by Anna Kolosyuk on Unsplash
vejaa / Photo by Anna Kolosyuk on Unsplash

What is Autism?

As defined by Autism Speaks, ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder),

...refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication.

And it's because of that "broad range of conditions" that there isn't one specific type of autism, according to Autism Speaks, but instead, there are actually many.

Autism Puzzle Piece

The fact that there is not one sole type of autism is that exact reason that the multicolored puzzle piece has become synonymous with ASD, as Autism Speaks states the symbol is meant to be "representative of the spectrum of perspectives and experiences autistic people may have."

Topsham Police Department via Facebook / Canva / Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash
Topsham Police Department via Facebook / Canva / Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Topsham Police Department Blue Envelope

And it's with autism, anxiety, and other ailments in mind that led to the Topsham Police Department in Maine to roll out their voluntary blue envelope program, which is designed to benefit licensed drivers that have been diagnosed with any of the above mentioned differences in the event of an accident or traffic stop.

The envelopes have information printed on them for the driver that should help alleviate some of the stress involved in a roadside encounter with a law enforcement officer.

The envelopes, which are meant to be kept in their vehicle along with other documents such as registration, proof of insurance, etc., also provide law enforcement with tips on de-escalating a potential stressful situation in order "to provide a positive outcome for all persons involved."

Topsham Police Department via Facebook
Topsham Police Department via Facebook

Could Topsham PD become trailblazers, encouraging other local law enforcement both in Maine and from away to follow suit? Only time will tell.

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