Imagine you are walking home one late Friday night, after work, excited to take a break and spend some time with friends and family. Then, all of a sudden, you see flashing lights. Your heart sinks, and fear takes a hold of you. The police. Again. When the officer approaches, you mentally break down and just cannot talk. You freeze and have no clue what is going on. All the officer wants to do is make sure you are not lost, but you are blanking out. The officer starts to think you are on drugs or have something suspicious going on, which leads to further complications. This is the experience that Larry encounters all too often.
Larry has high functioning ASD and ADHD, and he is an incredibly kind and thoughtful person. He loves to play Pokemon Go and bike all over his neighborhood. He also enjoys playing basketball with friends. Unfortunately, he has had several run-ins with police officers where he has "shut down" and was unable to respond or understand what the officer was saying. This has caused a lot of trouble for him and has once resulted in him spending a night in jail. Such an event would be panic-inducing for really anyone, but it is especially upsetting for people with autism. As a result, we have been working with police departments and autism centers in hopes of finding a way to make sure this doesn't happen again.
Project Lyra is creating a wristband that can alert the police and other emergency services that the wearer has a communication disorder and let them know about how the wearer might react to a police encounter. The wristband also contacts the wearer's caretaker and audio records the police encounter once it is scanned by the police. This device can help Larry deal with emergency services if he freezes up as well as provide comfort to his mother who can trust that if anything happens, the device will notify her as well. Larry deserves to feel confident and safe in his daily life.
This is an issue that affects many more individuals than Larry though. We hope that our creation will help thousands of others with communication disorders get through stressful police encounters by preventing misunderstandings. All our team members and Larry would be honored if you would like to help us as well. Every donation counts! We will be using the money for prototyping, testing, and pitching our idea to investors.