Autism Awareness
and Interaction Training
for First Responders

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.

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Autism Awareness Training for First Responders

Firefighters and EMTs are trained to handle emergencies. Change to Firefighters, EMTs, Paramedics and Law Enforcement Officers are trained to handle emergencies. 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 68 children in the U.S. is born with some level of autism (CDC 2018) This is a giant increase 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

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.

Course Objectives

  • Present the students a description and understanding of autism.
  • Teach them how to recognize autistic traits and characteristics.
  • Give the students tools that will help them communicate and interact with the autistic individual in an emergency situation.
  • Coach the students to reduce or eliminate dangerous behaviors that could lead to either the first responder or the autistic individual be harmed.
  • Educate the students how to best restrain the individual if they are unable to control the patient.