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Ill. officials introduce autism awareness training

Free online program helps first responders recognize autism disorders during emergency response, better understand techniques to communicate

M2 PressWIRE

AURORA, Ill. — The Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM), in partnership with the Illinois Fire Service Institute and Giant Steps, today announced a new training program for firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel to help better protect individuals with autism spectrum and related disorders. The new program, available online at no cost, helps first responders to recognize autism disorders during an emergency response and better understand techniques to communicate. The training also includes an award program, whereby Giant Steps shall provide acknowledgement to fire departments whose personnel obtain this training.

"This is important training to better prepare first responders," explained State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis. "Autism spectrum and similar disorders may affect the way someone reacts during high stress situations and first responders need to recognize and understand an effective way to keep them safe."

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