A group of mothers in Louisiana have taken up the cause of educating first responders about how to help children with autism, who often have different needs and may require different approaches in a crisis situation.
The group has a Facebook page where they describe their mission as:
“Our goal for Badge Buddies is to train as many local first responders as possible on ALL Spectrum disorders. How to spot it, how to react, and how to diffuse a situation properly without causing harm to anyone.”
Both children and adults on the autism spectrum present special challenges to first responders who may not recognize them as having autism and may not be familiar with their special needs.
Badge Buddy member Dr. Dawn Stanfield told KNOE that it’s important first responders understand the signs of autism so that they don’t misinterpret the child’s behavior in a crisis, saying:
“These are kids that may not be able to tell you who their parents are if they wander off in the store, or if they’re in a crisis situation. They may demonstrate some negative qualities, that people would consider negative, but it’s their coping system it’s what they’re doing to get through the situation.”
The group is bringing in a professional trainer in September to conduct free training sessions for first responders who want to improve their knowledge of working with children with autism.
According to Dr. Stanfield, speaking to KNOE, the skills first responders will learn at the training include “how to interact with a person with autism, some warning signs that you may be able to recognize, he’ll do some role-playing so that these first responders really get hands-on experience.”
Kudos to these moms for taking proactive steps to ensure that a crisis doesn’t become an even bigger crisis for their kids and those with similar challenges.
h/t: KNOE 8 News