If this is an example of the current training, if this is 'what's out there,' then Houston, we have a problem.
Another problem I've been struggling with is my instinct as a mom to support others who have real issues keeping their kids safe. Josh is verbal now, but there was a time, not too long ago, when his lack of language frightened me. Could he tell me if someone at school hurt him? If he ran away (as he was known to do at school) would he be able to tell someone where he belonged? These are REAL and SCARY things to have to worry about. I don't want to criticize any parent who does whatever they see necessary to keep their child free from harm.
That being said, I do think you have to really consider how to do it. What are the best practices out there? I can see how, in certain circumstances (crowded venues like, say an amusement park) a parent would be very frightened of the possibility that their child could get lost. Fear may convince that parent that a neon shirt asking strangers to "Call 911" is a viable option. However, as some have pointed out, by displaying a diagnosis on your loved one, you could also be inviting predators to pay more attention.
Many disability advocates have criticized the practice of non-disabled actors pretending to be disabled. In the training clip, we see this being done as part of a 'role-play' exercise. It's a typical method used in many training courses. I'm guessing that the trainer involved does not see anything wrong with what she's doing. I understand why many feel that the person involved in the role-play should be a self-advocate, not an actor. (But that would take time and patience...)
In my opinion, we need to keep in mind that there are real problems here, and we need real, helpful solutions that don't further stigmatize and humiliate our loved ones, or worse yet, put them in added danger. We need to work together to find a way to "fix" the problem. I share many of the concerns being expressed about the current training and the use of brightly colored clothes as a way of identifying someone who has a hidden / developmental disability for the sake of police protection. Now what we need to do is acknowledge the fact that these fears do exist and are very real issues for some families then find a better way and contribute to the solution.
Any suggestions? Maybe there are better examples of training we should look at. Some have mentioned a less obvious way of providing information to first responders i.e. a "hand signal" or medical alert bracelet. I agree that we can not and should not REQUIRE anyone to use any type of identification. But, if parents think their child is in danger, shouldn't we allow them the freedom and support their decision?
These are important questions and I look forward to learning more about how we can provide real tools to help keep people stay safe while maintaining the civil rights and human dignities that every person is entitled to. In a perfect world, none of this would be necessary. We're not there yet.