Autistic Author Interview
Andy Buchan was a police officer for nearly 30 years and during his time he saw many different aspects of life that made him better equipped to help people. His book, “Autism and the Police,” is a culmination of all of his experience woven into a guide to show the better way, the easier way to help and protect not just autistic people but ALL vulnerable people around the globe.
Tell us about your book, Autism and the Police.
Autism and the Police is packed full of accurate, useful advice for all first responders, not just cops. It explains what autism is, how to spot it on the street and more importantly how to deal with it. By writing the guide, I can stop the use of force which has resulted in far too many autistic people being harmed unnecessarily. I have inserted several scenarios drawn from real life situations I personally encountered, which show the most effective strategy for dealing with the neurodiverse.
What inspired you to write it?
I was asked by Jessica Kingsley Publishers to write the book for UK police forces after they saw my extensive CV. My motivation from then on was to give the frontline officer clear unambiguous guidance which was accessible and miles away from the laborious ‘text-book’ speak I had encountered throughout my whole service. The contents are completely culturally transferable and can be adapted in any country for their police or emergency services.
How does being autistic influence your writing?
I have used my unique situation of being an ex-cop but also being autistic to create the book. Without this insight, the book would fall flat and be just another training manual which I set out from the start to avoid. I want any cop to pick it up and give ‘that’ nod, the one where they understand and agree with what they are reading, only then will I know I have achieved my goal.
Who is the ideal reader and how do you see the book being used?
Although originally designed for front line police officers and emergency services first responders this book was written in a relaxed style which is accessible to everyone. Just because you are a parent, caregiver or even autistic yourself, doesn’t mean my book has nothing for you. It explains the thought processes behind the police mind (well mine at least) and why they think and do things which may seem to the uninitiated as unfathomable but will usually be quite straight forward. If you have had any interaction with the Criminal justice system the book might give you some answers to why it happened.
What’s the message you want your readers to take away after reading your book?
Having read the book for the first time, I would like the reader to be more confident in how to recognise and deal with an autistic person but, also understand how difficult it can be for them to simply function or exist in modern society. I want the book to make a difference and most importantly to save lives; autistic lives
Is there anything else you’d like to say about Autism and the Police?
This book is not a boring, tedious training manual or textbook like all of the others out there. It has been designed to be a dip-in dip-out guide, with each chapter a stand-alone section which can be read in isolation. Try it! Go on, see what the first chapter is like and then make a decision. Don’t take it from just me, an autistic police officer recently stood in front of me hugging the book to their chest and was close to tears saying, “I am dyslexic and it is so easy to read, not like the ones at work!” What more do I have to say?
What about a proud moment?
I was just a skinny, naive 19 year old when I joined the police. I had worked in many different jobs after leaving school just gone 16 and gathered a bit of life experience on the way. I had no idea I was autistic. I simply knew I thought completely different to everyone else, especially my family. I took what little knowledge of the world I had, put on a uniform and had the time of my life! I may not have got it right all of the time but I always put my heart and soul into everything. I look back fondly on a career that has given me the platform to finally do something good for the whole autistic community.
What words of encouragement can you offer to other autistics?
Having received a diagnosis late in life, I say to other autistic and neurodiverse people that if you want to do something then do it. Don’t wait until tomorrow, do it today and don’t let anyone put you off. I succeeded. So can you.
What are the best ways to connect with you?
- Twitter: Andy Buchan – Autism By Collaboration @autism_by
- Website: Autism By Collaboration
- Buy Autism and the Police on Amazon US*
- Buy book in UK
Books by Autistic Authors
Visit our curated Amazon Book Shop to find books in all genres written by the authors we interview.
*Links to buy books are our affiliate links. By purchasing using these links, you will not only support the author, you’ll be raising funds to support our autistic team of contributors for their work too.