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Maryland teen living with autism forms relationships with police

“He says, 'I'm your average, good-looking teenager, but if you would see me having a meltdown on the street, you might want to shoot me.'"

GERMANTOWN, Md. — During these challenging times, parents are having to have more tough conversations with their children when it comes to dealing with police.

Improving the relationship with everyday people and law enforcement has been the mission of one Maryland teen.

"It's scary being the mom of a black man," Jenn Lynn said when talking about her 17-year-old son. "He says, 'I'm your average, good-looking teenager, but if you would see me having a meltdown on the street, you might want to shoot me.'"

Jake is adopted and autistic. He has a unique relationship with the police in his Germantown neighborhood. But he and his family are aware of the challenges he could face for those who don’t understand him and could possibly become afraid.

"He wears a bracelet that says, 'I have autism. When I'm scared, I can't talk. I lose my words or, then I have anxiety, so I'm going to be scared.' So, he is really trained to show his bracelet to all the police that he encounters," Lynn added.

Lynn said Jake is very literal and harbors anxiety.

H"e's diagnosed also with most of the comorbid diagnoses that go with it: Anxiety disorder ADHD, sensory processing; so he has a whole bunch of challenges before him," Lynn said.

With several different cases of negative interactions with black people and the police being front and center, Lynn said she and her husband focus on teaching Jake to try his best to remain calm in tense situations.

"If you're scared and they're scared, everyone's going to be reacting in a different way.”

Learn more about Jake: Follow his vlog on YouTube.

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