When they see us : an initial development and evaluation of a culturally responsive police interaction training for black adolescents with ASD
The purpose of the current study was to conduct a qualitative and experimental analysis of a culturally informed police safety skills training for adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Qualitative focus groups and interviews were used to inform study design, and intervention procedures by exploring perceived barriers to safe interactions with law enforcement officers (LEO), preferred training settings, desired treatment modalities, and culturally appropriate simulated contexts. The current study focused primarily on meeting the unique training needs of Black adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A single case design was used to evaluate the initial efficacy and acceptability of a culturally responsive training method. Preliminary evidence about the physiological ramifications of police contact were also collected to begin to examine the broader behavioral and psychophysiological nature of youth's experiences. Understanding whether police interactions led to chanrtisol and heart rate variability provided insight into the physiological costs of police presence among Black adolescents with ASD. The current project is innovative and novel in that it used the integrated perceptions and knowledge of Black caregivers, Black adolescents, and local law enforcement to develop training methodology based on local norms. No police-focused study has yet to consider the integral aspect of anxious behaviors and social abilities in ASD youth. The current experimental design included in-person simulated contexts that youth, and caregivers, endorsed as relevant to their normal lives, which greatly strengthened the ecological validity of the approach.