Autism and Communities: A Chat with Lynsay Armbruster

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World Autism Acceptance Week (2 – 8 April) took place earlier this month and we saw no better time to catch up with MWOTY 2022 Community Change finalist, Lynsay Armbruster. 

Lynsay is a Detective Chief Inspector working within Merseyside Police for the last 19 years. She has supported the force around autism and wider neurodiversity awareness for around 10 years following the autism diagnosis for her eldest son. 

Since being named runner up in the Community Change category, Lynsay has continued on her journey as a Detective and autism ally, even taking it international…

In 2022 you were recognised for educating officers about autism and how to work with members of the community who are autistic, what has happened since then?

In 2023, I was really proud to launch All About Neurodiversity in Policing. This involved a schedule of events for our officers and staff, starting off with an all-day lived experience workshop presented by individuals working for and with Merseyside Police who have a variety of neurodiversity conditions. The attendance both in person and online was phenomenal and we received really positive feedback around it. This led on to my second event which was a professionals edition, whereby charities and various professionals in neurodiversity conditions provided advice and guidance to those who dialled in on support they could receive in our community. 

You were recently recognised at the British Citizen Awards or “The Peoples Honours”, can you tell us more about the work you have been doing that has been recognised by that award?

I was incredibly honoured to be recognised at the British Citizen Awards. The nomination was on the basis of the totality of the work I have done over the years. While I was utterly gobsmacked to receive it, I don’t do the work I do for awards. I have always set out to create a better future environment for my son and the communities of the county that I am so proud to police. Sadly I was very unwell on the day of the event so I was unable to attend however it was gratefully received by my parents and it saved me having to do an acceptance speech!

We heard that you’d taken your autism journey further afield – and joined the FBI! Can you tell us a bit about that?

In July 2023 I set off to America following a selection process to be the UK policing representative on the National Academy Executive Leadership course class 287. It was 10 weeks living in Quantico with senior law enforcement officials from across the world. It contained both academic and physical fitness elements taught by some incredible FBI instructors. 

I was able to learn from all 198 of my classmates from all walks of life and areas of law enforcement to take my UK autism journey International! Being away from my family was incredibly difficult as I didn’t see them for nearly three months. 

One of my classes was around successfully navigating community relations so my selections were all based on both my passions as a Detective and autism ally. I was incredibly grateful to Merseyside Police for supporting this development opportunity. At the conclusion of the course I successfully navigated the famous yellow brick road six-mile obstacle course and graduated with Masters Credits from the University of Virginia. 

I am now a proud part of the FBI family!

What three simple things can people do today to support autistic people?

Be person centric and understand the individual, autism is a spectrum condition so individuals needs can vary. A lot of the time the best person who can tell you what they need is the autistic person. 

Create consistency where possible or explain and understand potential the impact of change whether that be in your working, school or home life.

Understand how useful technology has become to provide supportive tools. From noise cancelling headphones to you tube videos that can show an unfamiliar venue to google explaining a parking situation. These tools can alleviate information voids that can cause trauma to autistic people when facing new places or sensory environments. 


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