Thursday, October 4, 2007

Autism Awareness

As you go through CERT (or look to use your experiences and training in your neighborhood), please be thinking about those who may need more help or not necessarily fit well within your expectations. A good example of that may be children or adults in your community who have autism. Scott Campbell went through CERT a few classes back and has put together some resources about autism that every CERT should be familiar with ... http://www.poac-nova.org/base.cgim?template=autism_awareness.

He made a presentation at the Fire Academy last year (I think) that brought up a number of good ideas about how to interface effectively with autistic citizens that I had never heard of ... their love of salt (pass those chips!), their drive to wander and love for water (thus, the constant fear of drowning that their caregivers and love ones have for them). Another key behavior is to warn them (similar to how small children need cues) of what is going to happen so they can prepare ... like how a doctor would show a child what is about to happen on their doll or stuffed teddy. I encourage all of you to learn about the special needs of your neighborhood or community.

1 comment:

  1. Cathleen, thanks for the posting. However, there is one item that is not quite correct. You can usually offer chips safely to an individuals with autism, since many are on a restricted diet with no whole grains or dairy products. Giving these folks a cookie or crackers could lead to hyperactivity at best and put them into shock at worst. I have been doing these autism awareness presentations for three years so far, and would be happy to do oe for any first responder audience. Please contact me at home at 703 241-2640 if you are interested. Thanks again! Scott

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