My son is Black and living with autism. How do I protect him from police brutality?
Areva Martin and her son

For any Black parent, the talk is a difficult moment. For those of us with children with autism, it is doubly so. I know many Black American males — doctors, lawyers, teachers — who have harrowing stories of encounters with police. If these prominent professional men struggled in their encounters with police, it terrified me to think about what could happen if my son were ever stopped and questioned. Although my son, Marty, who is on the autism spectrum, is intelligent and high functioning in some areas, he, like most people with autism, processes information differently.

I constantly worry about what would happen if he encounters the police and failed to fully understand a verbal command given to him. What if he became fidgety or mistakenly reached for his wallet? A million nightmarish scenarios run through my mind. I have had to rethink whether the talk would even work with my son.

I know that I am not alone when it comes to worrying that a loved one with autism, or a developmental disability, or mental health challenges will one day encounter the wrong cop — one who won’t recognize that special needs people often require patience.

Read more on Mic.

Photo of Areva Martin with her son.

This is an external article from our library

Everyone is talking about caregiving, but it can still be difficult to find meaningful information and real stories that go deep. We read (and listen to and watch and look at) the best content about caregiving and bring you a curated selection.

Have a great story about care work? Use our contact form to submit it to us so we can share it with the community!

Related Articles

manic pixie dream world

manic pixie dream world

Rayne: Eliza, do you consider yourself mentally ill? Eliza: Rayne, at one time, I would have said I am extremely mentally ill. I no longer say that....

Popular categories

After Caregiving
Finding Meaning
Finding Support

Don't see what you're looking for? Search the library

Share your thoughts


Share your thoughts and experiences

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Join our communities

Whenever you want to talk, there’s always someone up in one of our Facebook communities.

These private Facebook groups are a space for support and encouragement — or getting it off your chest.

Join our newsletter

Thoughts on care work from Cori, our director, that hit your inbox each Monday morning (more-or-less).

There are no grand solutions, but there are countless little ways to make our lives better.

Share your insights

Caregivers have wisdom and experience to share. Researchers, product developers, and members of the media are eager to understand the nature of care work and make a difference.

We have a group specifically to connect you so we can bring about change.