ASA's 37th National Conference on Autism Spectrum Disorders (July 13-15, 2006)
|Thursday, July 13, 2006: 3:15 PM-4:30 PM|
|#2232- Statewide Autism Training for Law Enforcement and First Responders|
|Learn how a state created statewide autism awareness training for law enforcement and first responders. As of January, 2005, North Carolina's Basic Law Enforcement Training curriculum for new officers includes training on autism. ASNC used a grant from Attorney General Roy Cooper to give autism training videos or DVDs to sheriffs, public defenders and police chiefs statewide. The NC Legislature appointed the Joint Study Committee on Autism Spectrum Disorder, Law Enforcement, Public Safety, and First Responders to expand the effort.|
|Presenters:|| - Elizabeth H. Thompson is a parent and the Director of Advocacy of the Autism Society of North Carolina. She has presented at a Pre-Conference of the Autism Society of America, at the ASA Conference "Opening Doors", and at statewide Autism Society of North Carolina Conferences on transition and to local Chapters and Lorman Seminars. Ms. Thompson has received the Autism Society of North Carolina's Professional of the Year Award. She has been appointed to the Joint Study Committee on Autism Spectrum Disorder, Law Enforcement, Public Safety and First Responders; and she has distributed autism video and DVD materials statewide.
- Kimberly S. Taylor is a retired Superior Court Judge in the 22nd Judicial District, Sixth Division of North Carolina. The mother of an 20-year-old son with autism, Judge Taylor played an integral role in getting autism spectrum disorder information added to the basic law enforcement training for the state of North Carolina.
As of January, 2005, North Carolina's Basic Law Enforcement Training curriculum for new officers includes training on autism. ASNC used a grant from Attorney General Roy Cooper to give autism training videos or DVDs to sheriffs, public defenders and police chiefs statewide. The NC Legislature appointed the Joint Study Committee on Autism Spectrum Disorder, Law Enforcement, Public Safety, and First Responders to expand the effort.
One of the key problems encountered when persons on the Autism Spectrum interact with police is that communications are a critical element of the interaction between law enforcement and the individual. Since the situations are often stressful to begin with, it is important for the officer or first responder to recognize autism and to have some idea of how to best serve, protect and interact with individuals on the spectrum.
The death in North Carolina of a man with autism in police custody galvanized parents and professionals into action. Law enforcement professionals, a judge, parents of sons with autism spectrum disorder, and experts in autism coalesced and made presentations to groups, including the Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) Curriculum Revision Committee. The committee responded by adding mandated training on ASD to the BLET curriculum for rookie officers. In addition, the Advocacy Department of the Autism Society received a grant from the North Carolina Attorney General's office to promote autism awareness to law enforcement statewide.
The next step was to promote autism awareness to officers already in the field. The approach selected was to integrate information into statewide conferences and into continuing education for law enforcement. The Advocacy Department of ASNC has provided copies of Dennis Debbaudt's Autism Awareness Video for Law Enforcement and Community Service Personnel to elected sheriffs across the state. DVD versions were provided to the statewide public defenders' training in Asheville in November, 2005. Resident Superior Court Judge Kimberly Taylor and Michael Teague, Ph.D., Forensic Psychologist, Raleigh (N.C.) Police Department, also trained the public defenders from the perspective of professionals who are also parents of sons with ASD.
On February, 2006, a separate effort in conjunction with the statewide collaborative “Partners in Justice,” created by the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities, will have a statewide conference “Building Bridges, Changing Lives.” It will focus on cognitive disabilities and Law Enforcement. The Advocacy Department of ASNC will sponsor Dennis Debbaudt as the keynote speaker.
After over a year of work by parents and professionals as an independent group, the North Carolina Legislature, led by Speaker Jim Black, appointed the Joint Study Committee on Autism Spectrum Disorder, Law Enforcement, Public Safety and First Responders. The Committee is charged to “study, develop, improve and promote critical safety issues involving for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder in North Carolina.” The committee will meet over one year, beginning on December 13, 2005 and will report back to the Legislature. Judge Taylor, Dr. Teague and Ms. Thompson are among the parents appointed to the Joint committee. Activities and actions of the Committee to advance autism awareness among public safety professionals will be included in the presentation.
This presentation will provide a number of learning opportunities for attendees, including: 1) learn how parents and professionals joined together to promote the need for training on autism among key leaders in law enforcement and government; 2) learn how to make your state a safer place for individuals with autism spectrum disorder; 3)learn how a state created statewide autism awareness training for law enforcement and first responders; and 4) learn how to train officers and first responders to best serve, protect and interact with individuals with ASD.
See more of The ASA's 37th National Conference on Autism Spectrum Disorders (July 13-15, 2006)