BE SAFE The Movie – Interview with Emily Iland

image courtesy of @Emily Iland MA

image courtesy of @Emily Iland MA

Be Safe the Movie – We recently ran a series on the topic of law enforcement and autism and we were received many personal messages about this emotive subject. The opinion piece, Autism and the Police – I am Frightened, in particular, received many comments  from parents and caregivers of children and adults with autism.

One reader who contacted us was Emily Iland, an award-winning author, autism advocate and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Special Education at California State University. She is also the mother of a young man with ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder.)

After reading our series, Emily got in touch with us to tell us about BE SAFE The Movie, of which she has written and directed. This is a video modelling DVD that shows teens and adults how to interact safely with the police. The positive models in BE SAFE can help anyone, and are especially important for individuals with disabilities or learning differences.

The website poses a question that every parent and teacher should be asking themselves:

‘What would your son, daughter or student with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) do in an encounter with the police? Run? Fight? Shut down? Melt down? Those are scary possibilities. More and more news stories across the country focus attention on individuals with ASD and other developmental disabilities who have unsafe or even disastrous encounters with law enforcement officials.’

To get an idea of what BE SAFE The Movie is all about, please view the trailer below.

We managed to catch up with Emily while she was traveling in Portland Indiana (which she described as being in the middle of nowhere) doing a BE SAFE Interactive Screening. She shared a photo-journal with us, so that we were lucky enough to see  BE SAFE in action! She says, if they can do BE SAFE there, it can be done anywhere! Some of these images can be viewed below.

Emily one


Emily 2


We wanted to learn more about BE SAFE and the wonderful work that Emily does and she kindly agreed to an interview during her busy schedule. Our interview with Emily can be read next.

Emily’s website can be found here
For more information and updates about BE SAFE please visit the website,

Can you tell me a little about the early years with Tom [Emily’s son]? When was he diagnosed? What life was like?

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