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First Responders Learn How to Engage with Individuals with Autism

March 20, 2015

Training shows first responders how to better interact with those with autism

Several dozen police officers and first responders attended autism training in Homewood, Alabama, to learn how to better engage with individuals on the autism spectrum. 

"This training allows law enforcement to make some judgements that are good calls to improve officer safety and citizen safety," Dennis Debbaudt, law enforcement trainer, told FOX6.

Standard police interactions, such as at checkpoints, at the scene of a car accident, or being pulled over can be anxiety-inducing situations for those with autism, making communication even more difficult.

Participants learned to notice signs that the individual has autism. Recently, Alabama began giving out official ID cards for those on the spectrum, similar to medical ID cards. 

"It's a real tribute to the law enforcement and public safety community that they got out here today and are making a commitment to get this training, share it with others," Debbaudt told FOX6.

Read more about the training on

You can find additional Autism Speaks safety resources for families and first responders to help prevent wandering hereVisit this page to report an active case of wandering.

If you are seeking additional safety information or resources, the Autism Response Team is happy to help! Call us at 888-288-4762 (en Español 888-772-9050) or email us at!