How to adapt your response to individuals with autism
As the number of autistic children and adults increases, it is more likely that first responders will encounter an autistic individual during an emergency situation
By Leischen Stelter, editor of In Public Safety
The number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is on the rise. In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report that 1 in 50 U.S. schoolchildren are diagnosed with ASD. That is up significantly from previous estimates of 1 in 88 children. In more tangible terms, the CDC’s new statistics mean more than 1 million children are diagnosed with some form of the neurodevelopment disorder. Here are some tips emergency responders can follow.
Educate yourself about autism
Emergency responders must know more about the nuances of this disorder so they can adjust their response to situations that involve an autistic individual, said Dr. Kevin Kupietz, adjunct professor of Emergency and Disaster Management at American Military University and a volunteer firefighter with the Roanoke Rapids Fire Department in North Carolina.
As part of his enrollment in the United States Fire Administration’s Executive Fire Officer Program, Kupietz conducted an in-depth research project on best practices regarding emergency response to incidents involving autistic individuals. (You can read his full paper here.)