Devorah Newman, 49, of Waterford gets some tips on threading the needle from volunteer Georgeann Edford of Bingham Farms as they work in Soul Studio in West Bloomfield, Mich. on Tuesday, April 25, 2017. Soul Studio is an art studio for adults with special needs. The day program has artists and volunteers who work with people 18 and older who have autism, cerebral palsy and other conditions to work with paint, clay, photography, textiles and tons of other media to make beautiful artwork. They learn skills and sell their wares at the studio. There's an art show coming up, too, and the artists get 40 percent of the sales. (Mandi Wright/Detroit Free Press/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
Devorah Newman, 49, of Waterford gets some tips on threading the needle from volunteer Georgeann Edford of Bingham Farms as they work in Soul Studio in West Bloomfield, Mich. on Tuesday, April 25, 2017. Soul Studio is an art studio for adults with special needs. The day program has artists and volunteers who work with people 18 and older who have autism, cerebral palsy and other conditions to work with paint, clay, photography, textiles and tons of other media to make beautiful artwork. They learn skills and sell their wares at the studio. There's an art show coming up, too, and the artists get 40 percent of the sales. (Mandi Wright/Detroit Free Press/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

A new marker for people with autism and the hearing impaired could help avoid misunderstandings with law enforcement.

MASON, Mich.—Michigan residents with conditions that could impede communication with law enforcement such as deafness or autism can now apply to have a designation associated with their information that comes up on officers’ computer system during traffic stops.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson promoted the so-called communication impediment designation that took effect this month during a news conference Monday in Mason. She also discussed measures to allow residents more access to appointments at branch offices that should reduce backlogs by Labor Day.

The designation wouldn’t appear on identification cards or documents, but it would appear on the Law Enforcement Information Network used by police to create safe and productive interactions.

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Benson attributed the change largely to the efforts of community advocate Xavier DeGroat, whose own experience with police at a traffic stop spurred him to create better interactions between people with autism like himself and law enforcement.

“I am one of those individuals that has strived for justice for my own self being pulled over here about five years ago, being told by a police, ‘Hurry up, hurry up, get your insurance card’,” DeGroat said. “With the sirens going off, I didn’t know how to react properly to the officer.”

With DeGroat’s leadership, the Legislature passed two bills unanimously to create the designation.

Certain actions can make it difficult for people with autism to comply with directions, while the inability to hear and react to commands can potentially create danger during traffic stops.