TIP of the WEEK: Police Involvement

Latham-Centers3Recently we have heard of several people with PWS being caught up in the legal system following incidents in the community. Here are some ways to help prevent this from happening to your child:
1. Educate your local law enforcement officers on PWS and how the syndrome effects your child.
2. Do not assume that an illegal act will be dismissed because your child has a disability. This is far from the truth. Teach accountability at a young age. It may be possible to educate attorneys or judges but an arrest and/or jail time can be extremely traumatic for our kids. If they are caught doing something illegal it is possible that they will be arrested before you can intervene.
3. Always carry the law enforcement cards from PWSAUSA. It is highly unlikely that police officers will be familiar with the syndrome. These cards are to the point and give the officers the information that they need.
4. Be proactive. If your child engages in illegal activities ( stealing food, being threatening to others in public, public property destruction) ask your local police officers to either visit your home or meet with your child at the station to explain the potential consequences. Be careful with this one- if your child enjoys attention from law enforcement this strategy can backfire.
It is the intention of everyone to avoid any kind of legal issues with our kids but sometimes it cannot be avoided. If you find yourself in this situation get legal help immediately and reach out to your local PWS association for assistance.

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Patrice Carroll is Latham Centers’ world-renowned Prader-Willi Syndrome specialist. She works with Latham Centers’ residents with PWS, their families and consultants, continuously learning and teaching about PWS best practices. 

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