You may not really know about autism unless you know what signs to look for, what to expect and how to handle an individual with autism in an emergency situation. We challenge all firefighters and EMTs to start by testing your knowledge. Take this pre-test to see how prepared you are for an emergency interaction with an individual with autism.
Firefighters and EMTs are trained to handle emergencies. When the world changes around them, they modify training to meet these changes. Now there is a new type of training that needs to be addressed—training for an autism emergency. Autism is one of the fastest growing disabilities in the world and it is not going away. New statistics show that at least a million children and adults have a diagnosis of autism or a related disorder, like Asperger syndrome or "pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified," also known as P.D.D.-N.O.S. 1 out of every 88 children in the U.S. is born with some level of autism (CDC 2012) This is up 78% in the past decade.
If we are not aware of this disorder and the vast spectrum of symptoms it encompasses, we will not be ready to handle the emergency effectively. A simple uneducated or untrained mistake can result in the loss of a fellow firefighter or even the individual. We can't afford mistakes like this, especially when the training is now available. Individuals with autism are so unique and their actions so unpredictable that it's not only for their safety, but the firefighter and EMTs as well. If you walked into a fire and went to grab the individual, and he or she acted out not in fear of you, but in fear of being touched, you can get hurt as a result. There is no room for mistakes in the field. Everyone's safety is important. A 2008 study called "CONTRIBUTING FACTORS TO FIREFIGHTER LINE-OF-DUTY INJURY IN METROPOLITAN FIRE DEPARTMENTS IN THE UNITED STATES" showed the dominant contributing factor to line of duty injuries was lack of situational awareness (37.35%).
Learning how to effectively interact with an individual with autism is the one training we can't afford to overlook. Knowing what to do and how to approach individuals with autism is the first step in effectively handling any emergency situation.
Our mission is to teach all First Responders how to effectively interact with individuals with autism. The specialized training we provide, will educate Firefighters, EMT's, Paramedics, Police Officers and Emergency Room Personal how to recognize people with autism. The training will give students the tools needed to effectively communicate with autistic individuals, as well as help reduce or eliminate dangerous behaviors. We will give the parents and caregivers of people with autism piece of mind, knowing that First Responders in their community are prepared for this type of emergency.
View complete Training Objectives and Curriculum.