Skip to main content

Developing Positive Interactions for People with Developmental Disabilities and First Responders, Police, and the Justice System: A Guide for People with Developmental Disabilities and Their Loved Ones (November 2016)


The Arc of Northern Virginia is dedicated to ensuring that the human and civil rights of people with developmental disabilities are protected. We have known and worked with thousands of families in our more than 50 year history who have taught us so much.

In recent years, we have seen a big increase in calls and emails from families who are concerned about the safety of their loved ones with developmental disabilities in police and other justice interactions. We have also had more calls from families saying their loved one has been arrested and they need help.

This guide is dedicated to those families who have trusted us in their time of need, allowed us to help in any way we could, and who have taught us so much about people with developmental disabilities in the justice system. The brave individuals with disabilities who have been through this process have paved a path and laid a knowledge base for our community. We wish everyone the happiest, healthiest, safest of lives.

This guide provides resources available in Northern Virginia, but also contains information that can be helpful to other people who live in other counties in Virginia.

Tag(s): ADD/ADHD Autism Spectrum Disorder Behavior Challenging Behavior Collaboration Deaf-Blind Developmental Delay Emotional Disabilities Hearing Impairment Intellectual Disabilities Learning Disability Mild/Moderate Disabilities Multiple Disabilities Orthopedic Impairment Other Health Impairment Parent/Family Professional Resources Safety Speech/Language Impairment Traumatic Brain Injury Vision Impairment