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Oxfordshire Autism Alert Card

The following information has been taken from the Autism Oxford website....

Autism Oxford is delighted to be providing Oxfordshire’s first Autism Alert Card Scheme, which offers a card free to anyone on the Autism Spectrum in Oxfordshire.

Show this Autism Alert Card if you need:

  • Support from one of your contacts

  • Consideration from Police Officers of your difficulties

  • Help from Officials on public transport

  • Help from Police Officers or other Emergency Services

  • To explain the nature of autism

  • To explain autistic behaviours

The Oxfordshire Autism Alert Card gives:

  • Simple, practical advice

  • Cardholder’s name

  • Names and telephone numbers for 2 emergency contacts – these may be family members, carers or friends of the cardholder, who have agreed to be a contact on the card

Our credit card sized autism alert card should be carried at all times and be shown if you find yourself in a situation where you need help or need to give an explanation.

It will also assist Thames Valley Police and other emergency services to identify that they are dealing with someone on the autism spectrum.

People in other areas have found the Alert Card useful. Here are some of their comments:

“Change of attitude by police, tone of voice and use of language changed, became less threatening to me” “We use the card when we go out on trips; it has improved our confidence as parents to go out and about more frequently” “If I am going to a crowded place I will take it with me” “People give more time to answer and I was calmer. I move a lot and wave my hands, I talk too much and this can be a problem to people” “Yes the policeman helped advise me on how to get home I think he was more helpful because I showed him my card.” “It is a brilliant idea either in custody or at the roadside to help recognise autism behaviour, which could be (in other circumstances) perceived as S5 etc.” (A Police Officer)

REMEMBER Carry your alert card with you at all times to help you get the right assistance when you need it.

Further information

In Oxfordshire there are an estimated 6,355 people on the Autism Spectrum, based on a ratio of 1:100 (Ratio source: National Autistic Society). Many remain undiagnosed.

Autistic behaviour is easy to misinterpret. For example, someone on the autism spectrum can be easily overloaded by sights, sounds and smells in busy places. In a crowded area, they may hear every conversation as loudly as the next – this makes it impossible to focus on what you are saying to them and increases stress and anxiety. When overloaded, some may rock, tap, talk incessantly, pace or ask repetitive questions to try to keep control of themselves.

If unable to cope with overload, meltdown may occur, resulting in a Fight, Flight or Freeze response:

  • Fight response - may lash out at people and/or objects

  • Flight response - may try to run away

  • Freeze response - may withdraw into themselves and shut down, becoming completely unresponsive

All these responses are attempts to escape the overload they are experiencing - they are not in control of themselves. The person will not be able to change his or her behaviour until they have had a chance to calm down in a quiet, calm environment. For more information and advice, download our Useful Information leaflet and Fact Sheet.

The Card Scheme will:

  • Offer, free of charge, people of all ages in Oxfordshire an easily identifiable and verifiable means of disclosing that they are on the autism spectrum

  • Help autistic people in difficult situations find sources of local support

  • Help Thames Valley Police, local emergency services and Oxfordshire organisations to identify they are dealing with someone who has autism

  • Promote better management of issues and situations involving people with Autism

  • Help Cardholders feel safer and more confident when out and about

  • Provide Autism Awareness Training to Police Officers and PCSOs in Oxfordshire

  • Enable Thames Valley Police to ensure all people with autism receive an excellent, fair and appropriate service from the police

  • Enlist the help of the local media to raise public awareness of autism in our country.

How to apply


  • Download application form here and print

  • Post completed form and information on why you think you should have a card (proof of diagnosis, if you have it) to: Autism Alert Card Autism Oxford Sanderum House 38 Oakley Road Chinnor OX39 4TW

2. OR

  • Complete and submit online application form here

  • Email information on why you think you should have a card (proof of diagnosis if you have it) to or post it to the above address.

Proof of diagnosis may be a letter or report from your GP or other professional. If you do not have a diagnosis and are not sure what to send, please contact us – we can help.

First Alert cards are free, replacements will cost £1.

The Oxfordshire Autism Alert Card Scheme is funded by Oxfordshire NHS and Oxfordshire County Council Social and Community Services. The steering group, led by Autism Oxford, enables partnership working between Thames Valley Police, Oxford and Oxfordshire Magistrates’ Courts, Oxfordshire NHS & County Council and other local organisations in the development and launch of the scheme.

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