DENTON (CBSDFW.COM) – A local college student is finding a way to build better communication between students with special needs and police.
When someone assaulted University of North Texas student Christianna Walker off campus, she found it hard to tell police.
“Being autistic, I was already in a heightened state. By the time police got there, I was in a non-verbal meltdown and couldn’t communicate what was going on to the officers,” explained Walker.
Unable to communicate, she tried to get way from the flashing lights.
“I was done with the situation and tried to walk off, and that got me in more trouble, so that was frustrating,” recalled Walker.
She turned her personal struggle into a solution to help others and created a new card to improve interactions between students with special needs and campus police.
Together, she and Corporal Kevin Crawford, a community relations officer, are spreading the word.
A short description tells first responders and officers what to expect.
“I wrote on my card that I may be non-verbal, that I may not make eye contact. It also says to not separate me from a work dog that I have with me,” said Walker.
Crawford said it’ll help prevent negative experiences like the one Walker had.
“It can be extremely difficult sometimes,” said Crawford. “Sometimes, someone with a disability can mirror a person who’s under the influence. It can seem like they’re an uncooperative person.”
He’s given away nearly 500 cards, and there are plans to print more.
The card isn’t just for students on campus. Denton ISD and the Denton PD have also requested them.
“To me, that is just amazing to think that my idea has blossomed into what is. That’s amazing to me,” said Walker.
If you’d like to request a card, you can email Corporal Kevin Crawford at: firstname.lastname@example.org