Sheffield has a number of schemes which could be useful for young people who are starting to venture out into their local community.
Alert cards for emergency services: South Yorkshire Police have launched a scheme that will help police officers and other emergency service workers communicate better with people on the autism spectrum and people with learning disabilities.
Joining the scheme is free. Applicants are asked to supply information (e.g. about their communication needs, situations they find difficult, things that help them, emergency contacts), which is then stored in a central database. People registered on the scheme receive a credit-card-sized card, which they can show to emergency service workers if they find themselves in a crisis or stressful situation. Workers will then be able to retrieve information about the individual from their call handling system and adapt their communication and actions accordingly. To request the card, please email Autism_Alert_Card@southyorks.pnn.police.uk
Alert cards for bus drivers: Sheffield’s two main bus companies provide cards with messages like “Please be patient, I have difficulty speaking”, or “Please tell me when we reach [name of stop]”. Passengers can hold these cards up to the driver so they know what their needs are. For more information, please visit the Stagecoach or First Bus websites.
Safe Places network: Over 50 places in Sheffield – shops, libraries, medical centres, cafes etc. – are designated as “Safe Places”. They aim to support vulnerable people to feel safe when they are out and about in Sheffield. If someone needs help, for example if they are lost, ill or frightened, then they can enter the nearest safe place to get help. The staff or volunteers in safe places will assist anyone who goes to them for help. For more information please visit www.sheffieldsafeplaces.co.uk