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Autism Awareness Training for First Responders

Date: 2015-04-17
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Center for Autism and Related Disorders and Institute for Behavioral Training partner to present trainings nationwide to teach emergency personnel how to interact with and respond to individuals with autism.


The Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) and Institute for Behavioral Training (IBT) have announced that they will partner to train first responders on autism in the month of April in response to autism awareness month.  CARD is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and has successfully treated thousands of individuals with autism since 1990.  IBT has trained over 5,000 people across the U.S. and other countries since 2013.  The free presentation, Autism for First Responders, will be presented in various cities across the U.S.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s announcement on March 27, 2014, autism impacts one 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 will enable 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,” said 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 is key.”  

For more information about the events, or to set up a training in your area, please visit or

- People, Places & Things/ (via Center for Autism and Related Disorders, 4/16/15)



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