The Autism Society of Alabama recently partnered with the Interaction Advisory Group, LLC to provide training to First Responders and distributed Carter Kits Sensory Bags to requesting EMS, Fire, and LEO departments as part of their Autism Safety Week Initiative.
Carter Kits Sensory Bags were provided to First Responders in the following counties: Baldwin, Blount, Calhoun, Clay, Chambers, Colbert, Cullman, Elmore, Lee, Geneva Greene, and Hale. The departments that participated in this program were: Battens Volunteer Fire Department, Opelika Fire Department, Greene County Ambulance Service, Hale County Emergency Management Agency, Hale County Emergency Medical Services, Hale County Sheriff’s Office, Lafayette Fire and EMS, Millbrook Police Department, Jones Chapel Fire Department, Muscle Shoals Police Department, Oxford Fire Department, Spanish Fort Police Department, and Shinbone Valley Fire and Rescue.
L to R: Chief Jim Doody, FF Ben Milam, FF Chris Broach, FF Tyler Williams, and Lt. Greg Jones. Photo courtesy of Ben Milam.
Carter Kits™ Sensory Bags contain items known to comfort and appropriately focus children who are on the autism spectrum (ASD), as well as many other children who occasionally find themselves overwhelmed or otherwise impacted by traumatic events. (carterkits.com)
Ben Milam, Fire Fighter, Lafayette Fire & EMS, stated that these kits will help personnel in their city and surrounding communities when interacting with individuals with autism. He notes that the kits have a number of valuable tools that will help responders calm and comfort children and adults alike.
In collaboration with Dustin Chandler (co-founder of Interaction Advisory Group, parent of a child with a disability, and former police officer), the Autism Society of Alabama provides customized special needs awareness and First Responder Trainings to first responders as well as other public service officials, educators and private sector workers (hospitality professionals, social workers) in Alabama. These courses are designed to educate individuals about the challenges associated with ASD that may impair communication between an individual with ASD and a first responder. Police officers, fire fighters, and emergency medical technicians who are trained to interact with those with a diagnosis of ASD can reduce miscommunications, unnecessary detainments, and injuries. During interactions with first responders, the challenges of language processing speed and communication skills associated with ASD may at times appear to be noncompliant or oppositional, when there is no intent for such behavior. First responder trainings for ASD decrease the likelihood of miscommunications that are a result of ASD features. (autism-alabama.org) For more information on training and resources, visit: https://www.autism-alabama.org/programs/.