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Calls to Action

Dear first responders who look out for our children with special needs

This guest post is by Autism Speaks staffer Kerry Magro, a motivational speaker and best-selling author who’s on the autism spectrum. You can learn more about Kerry on Facebook and Twitter. This blog originally appeared here.

To Our First Responders,

Everyday you are met with new challenges that you must face head on to protect members in our community…

You are the people who have to deal with a wide array of potential emergencies.

You are the police officers, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, firefighters and the gifted individuals who step in when an emergency occurs.

You are the ones who everyday help us feel safer just knowing that you’re here in a world that keeps getting scarier it seems every time you turn on your television.

I wanted to let you to know today that we’re thankful for you. We’re also thankful for all of you who are being trained to help our loved ones who have autism. More and more trainings are being provided around the U.S. from organizations such as Autism Speaks, which hosted a Safety Fair in Georgia that drew in over 600 people! People are getting diagnosed with autism everyday in our community and when a situation arises where they may be in harm's way, you are stepping in to help by being educated and aware.

I was diagnosed with autism when I was four and know many families with children who have needed one or more of your services at times. Wandering in particular has been a huge issue that has affected many of our loved ones.

By learning about the early signs, the common characteristics and symptoms and common generalizations and misconceptions of autism… even if you don’t know it already, you are making a huge difference.

For those first responders out there who don’t know what autism is yet, I’d encourage you to look at websites such as for more information. It takes a village to get to where we want to go but with your help and support, we can make for a better day for all of our loved ones on the spectrum.

By taking the time to learn more not only about autism but all those with special needs, you are potentially going to save one of our lives in the future. Don’t ever underestimate the impact you have.

This is so important and we appreciate you for what you do…

For those who know of a first responder in your area who is taking the time to learn more about autism, please share this with them. Let them know we appreciate their support and thank them for looking out for our loved ones. There’s certainly more that can be done, but hopefully with this letter we can start an even bigger conversation about an autism education around the world. Thank you.

Autism Speaks acknowledges that safety is a critical part of all of our lives, whether we are at home or out in the community, alone or with loved ones. With that, we have compiled tips, information, expert advice and resources for families and first responders so that everyone in our community can stay out of harm’s way. Learn more here.

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.