Autism Awareness Training
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For First Responders and Caregivers
What Is Autism?
According to the Autism Society of America, "Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first two years of life and is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain, impacting development in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. Both children and adults on the autism spectrum typically show difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities."
Autism is increasing in prevalence at an alarming rate. In decades past, autism occurred at a rate of 1 in every 10,000 births. For children born in the early 1990's, that rate jumped to 1 in every 100. For children born today, those numbers may be closer to 1 in 60 children.
Why Is Training Necessary?
Individuals with autism are seven times more likely to come in contact with law enforcement than their [neuro]typical peers (Curry, 1993). Coupled with an autistic person’s social differences and inability to communicate effectively, these interactions often lead to misunderstandings at the very least, and tragedy at the worst.
As the growing number of children with autism become adults, a broader understanding of the disorder and individuals affected by it will be critical to safe and successful interactions within the community at large, as well as in emergency situations.
Furthermore, a lot of the training material pertaining to approach, communication, and interaction guidelines also applies to individuals affected by a variety of other disorders including traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, cognitive delay, down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and many more, as well as persons with Alzheimer's and dementia.
Autism ALERT's Mission
Autism ALERT, Inc. strives to encourage a strong and purposeful partnership between individuals with autism and their caregivers, first responders, and the communities in which they live. Our mission is three-fold: (1) Educate first responders and health care professionals on how to recognize and interact with persons on the autism spectrum, (2) Train caregivers on how to prepare for emergencies and prevent tragedies, and (3) Develop and promote community partnerships.