CHARITIES and officials gathered yesterday in Pinehurst to promote a card designed to allow emergency services to identify people with autism more easily and understand their specific needs in moments of crisis.

The Autism Alert Card was launched in 2011 by the local branch of the National Autistic Society and Wiltshire Police back in 2011.

Yesterday, with the help of South Swindon MP Robert Buckland, Swindon Autism Information and Advice Service and the local branch of the National Autistic Society called on people diagnosed with autism or Asperger Syndrome and their families to order and make use of the valuable free card.

The card was designed to highlight the condition to others in situations where people with autism may find communicating difficult. For example, if they come to the attention of police or the criminal justice system.

Robert Buckland said: “If people with autism get in trouble or in a difficult situation they might react in a way that is seen as inappropriate by the emergency services. The card helps to alert everybody to the fact they are autistic to make sure they understand and support that person.”

More than 2,000 people in Swindon are autistic.

Anne Billingham, of charity Discovering Autistic Spectrum Happiness,said: “The card is a useful tool for people with autism to carry and we want to promote it specifically in Swindon.

“There is a telephone number of their relative or advocate at the back of for the emergency services to call.”

l To order a card visit or email