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Autism Registries

Program Title: 

Autism Registries

Program Blurb:

Similar to the Vulnerable Persons Registries, Autism Registries are intended to provide police with crucial information about a registered person with Autism. Autism Registries typically provide police with emergency contact information, detailed physical descriptions, known triggers, de-escalation techniques and/or special needs of a person with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Some Autism Registries are operated through a joint partnership between an Autism association and the police service.

Is the program based on research?


There was no evidence found that indicates this program is based on research.

Has the program been independently evaluated?


To date, there have been no studies that have evaluated the effectiveness of Autism Registries.

Was the program rigorously tested?


There is no evidence that this program has been tested.

Has the program evaluation been replicated?


Not applicable.

Was the program tested in Canada?


Although Autism registry programs have been adopted by many police services across Canada, none have been independently tested in Canada.


There is no evidence base to suggest that this program is effective. There does not appear to be an attempt to empirically evaluate the success of Autism Registries or the closely related Vulnerable Persons Registry. It is important to note that each police service with an Autism Registry independently operates and manages its own registry, thus, there is no standardization across registries. Each registry is only accessible to the residents, and police officers, that reside within that policing jurisdiction. Thus, it is possible that different police services operate their registries differently.

Assessor: Alisha Salerno, York University

Alisha Salerno is a Ph.D. candidate in Social Psychology at York University. Her research interests include the forensic implications of developmental disability, evidenced-based policing and sexual assault. Her current work looks at police responses to developmental disabilities and post-incident contact and victim resistance in sexual assault trials.

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Reviewer: Dr. Elizabeth Kelley, Queen's University

Dr. Kelley is an Associate Professor of Psychology, the Chair of Developmental Psychology, and a Member of the Centre for Neuroscience Studies at Queen’s University. She is a member of the Canadian Consortium for Applied Research in Autism, as well as the Canadian Autism Research Training Project. 

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