Institute for Behavioral Training (IBT) and Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) will partner to train first responders on autism in the month of April in celebration of Autism Awareness Month. The free presentation, Autism for First Responders, will be presented in select cities across the US. IBT has trained over 25,000 people across the US and other countries since 2013.CARD is celebrating its 27th anniversary this year and has successfully treated thousands of individuals with autism since 1990.
According to the Centers for Disease Control’s announcement on March 27, 2014, autism impacts 1 in 68 children. One in 47 boys has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). As more children, teens, and adults are impacted by ASD, police and other first responders will have interactions with this population. Individuals with autism may struggle to communicate, make appropriate eye contact, or even respond to someone asking them their name. The behaviors that children and teens with ASD display vary greatly which is why autism is described as a spectrum disorder. However, parents and professionals agree that safety is a huge concern for everyone in this population as they may easily be distracted, lost, or even elope from their school or surroundings. Autism for First Responders teaches police and first responders to recognize the signs of ASD and react accordingly to minimize their own risk and that of the individuals with autism.
“Training first responders to recognize ASD is crucial,” says Cecilia H. Knight, director of IBT. “Helping a family find a child who has wandered away, protecting an adult with autism whose behavior is being misunderstood, or helping a paramedic know how to interact when a child is injured can truly make a life or death difference. Recognizing the signs of autism, knowing how to act, and knowing how to react are key.”
CARD provides services across the US. Training will take place in local communities in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and in our nation’s capital. IBT’s training teaches the signs and symptoms of ASD, how to communicate with individuals who appear to be affected, and tips for first responders interacting with individuals on the spectrum.