Vegas Lost: Autism Court


When you visit Sonny Bailey you’ll hear talk of homework, you’ll watch the baskets of candy get passed around, and you’ll hear applause.

It can be hard to remember that this is a courtroom. Its a courtroom unlike any other in the country.

This is DAAY court; a court designed for children with autism.

“We have no idea what the statistics are for people in the adult system on the autism spectrum. We have none at all", Bailey told us.

Hearing Master Bailey founded this court when she noticed one of her young defendants showed signs of autism. Instead of jail, she reached out to services in Las Vegas to try to get the kid into treatment.

One kid became two, then three, and within seven months an entire court.

In the gallery, more than a dozen representatives from treatment facilities, medical offices, legal representatives, and insurance agencies.

The kids may have been arrested and faced lengthy stays in detention, but instead, they have found themselves surrounded by support.

“The goal is services with a dismissal at the end", Bailey said. “This is a diversionary program. The first thing you see is relief and hope.”

Most of these kids, some as young as ten years old, have been arrested for battery. Often their aggression is a symptom of their developmental disorder.

This court is a safety net where kids and teens who have gone untreated are court ordered to get those services.

“I think our job is to rehabilitative and to provide support to the parents. Any court that can benefit that should absolutely be utilized", Bailey told us.

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