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New Illinois ID Cards Aim to Help Drivers with Disabilities

The card is intended to help those with a medically diagnosed intellectual, developmental or mental disability. (WICS)

"Please do not interpret my behavior as a refusal to cooperate" is a very important sentence on the new "person with a disability wallet card."

"Depending on a person's disability, they could react differently in a high-stress situation so the purpose is to help improve communication with those who keep us safe and with those who have the disability," Henry Haupt of the Illinois Secretary of State's Office said.

The card is intended to help those with a medically diagnosed intellectual, developmental or mental disability. The card can be issued to those 16 years or older. Law enforcement says these cards can help in a variety of situations.

"If they're able to provide the information that will help the officer make a determination why that they're maybe acting the way that they're acting, I think it's better for everyone involved," Deputy Chief Dennis Arnold of the Springfield Police Department said.

The back of the card also gives tips on how to effectively communicate, such as speak slowly and allow time for responses.

"Unless you've had prior knowledge of them, you don't have information that could potentially deescalate the situation," Deputy Chief Arnold said.

These cards can also benefit the holder in case of an emergency medical situation.

"Maybe some of the patients we receive, are not responsive so we wouldn't know anything about their history. It would just help us in how we communicate, the care that we give that's individualized to their needs. Anything we know in advance will help us provide better care," Amy Jones, executive director of Emergency Services at HSHS St. John's Hospital, said.

While no official numbers have been released on how many cards have been handed out since they've become available, these ID cards help keep the lines of communication open for those who may struggle to verbalize in emergency situations.

The card was introduced this year as part of a state law sponsored by Democratic State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit of Oswego and Democratic State Sen. Linda Holmes of Aurora. Kifowit says officials don't know how many cards have been handed out since becoming available Jan. 2.

The card comes at no expense to those who are eligible. If you feel you may qualify to receive one of the wallet cards, visit the link below.

https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/dsd_x164.pdf

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