These days, autism isn't something that families shove in the deepest recesses of their closet and don't discuss. As the world begins to understand autism, conversations have been born and through conversation comes understanding and acceptance.

When I was a young girl in the 1980s and my doctors told my parents that I showed signs of being on the autism spectrum, they didn't believe it and it wasn't something they ever talked about. It was only when I was in my 20s and going through a box of childhood papers that my mom had given me that I stumbled on the notes from the doctors and it was only when I stepped into my 30s and became a mom myself that my own mother nonchalantly brought up what she was told about me when I was a little girl.

According to Autism Speaks, "approximately 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls."  Maybe you don't have autism. Maybe your kids or grandkids don't have autism. But, there's an excellent chance that someone you know does.

Autism has impacted several members of the JCPD and the department has decided to stand strong not only for those in the department impacted by autism but also for our community. The JCPD is on a mission to bring awareness and acceptance to the forefront of our community.

In a press release, the Johnson City Police Department said, "The first responders of the Village of Johnson City have recognized the need to educate, train and equip their police officers and firefighters when assisting residents with Autism."

If you would like to show support for those living with and those impacted by autism, the Johnson City PBA invites you to purchase an Autism Awareness T-shirts where all sale proceeds will be donated to Alive With Autism which is a Broome County non-profit that provides assistance to the local Autism Community.

CJ Fisher/JCPD

You may purchase your t-shirt here and then you have the option of having your shirt shipped via USPA or picking up your shirt on April 15th at the Johnson City Police Department between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

[via Johnson City Police Department/Autism Speaks/Alive With Autism]