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FCSO Hosts Autism Awareness Training Session For Local Law Enforcement

By on June 20, 2017 in WNDB News

Flagler County, FL – The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) recently hosted autism awareness training for first-responders in the area.

This day-long training session comes following the signing of a law by Governor Rick Scott on June 2 requiring law enforcement to receive autism awareness training. Before the law goes into effect on October 1, VCSO deputies, police officers from around Orlando and Osceola County and Palm Coast firefighters attended the necessary training on Thursday.

“This training is critical for our deputies and all first-responders to recognize the different behaviors people with autism may show, especially during an emergency situation,” says Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly. “I am glad our agency is on the cutting edge of this training and was able to host the training for other agencies.”

President of the Autism Society of Greater Orlando, Donna Lorman and Hector Gonzalez, a detective with the Bal Harbour Police Department who trains officers, taught the session for law enforcement. Their sons, Drew Lorman, 25, and Christopher Gonzalez, 24, have autism and were present during training to answer questions.

After Thursday’s session, the law enforcement that attended should be able to:

  • Identify autism
  • Recognize the signs and characteristics of someone with autism
  • Know the Baker Act criteria for autism
  • Identify stressors for families with someone who is autistic
  • Know proper techniques for interviewing, searching for a missing person with autism and de-escalating situations involving an autistic person

During the training session, Lorman told the participants what raising her son Drew was like, such as going to occupational therapy, speech therapy, and behavior analysis. Through each one of those, Drew was able to see a reduction in acts of aggression from 96 per hour to 1 per month. Gonzalez also talked about raising his son, Christopher, saying that “I’m blessed. It makes me a better person. We as parents take so much for granted.”

Participant Jason Wagner with Palm Coast Fire Rescue says the training was “eye-opening” and that it will help him better help a person with autism during incidents where firefighters are needed.

Near the end of the session, some parents and their autistic children interacted with the participants to help them understand what a real situation might look like.

(Photos of the training session courtesy of the FCSO)

Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2017.

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