Because much of the ALEC training for First Responders has had to come to a stop, we have focused on virtual training and support of our law enforcment and emergency personnel partners. We would like to focus this report on our biggest donor and partner of the ALEC program, Bailey's Team for Autism.
Bailey's Teamis a regional non-profit organization supporting organizations and individuals who fund research and or provide training, resources, services and aid to individuals living withautismspectrum disorders and their families.
For years, local foundation, Bailey's Team for Autism has supported the Autism Law Enforcement and Education Coalition with small grants to provide our training to First Responders. In 2020, Bailey's Team awarded ALEC with a grant to specifically support training of thousands of First Responders in Rhode Island. Recently, Bailey's Team awarded ALEC with another $7,000 grant for 2021. This award was made despite the cancellation of many of the foundations' fundraising events during the COVID 19 pandemic.
Bailey's Team is a strong partner of Lifeworks and is supporting many of our families directly with funding through an additional grant in response to the COVID crisis. To learn more about Bailey's Team and to read about how this Team is having an impact globally, please see their website:
On August 27th, the ALEC Program and Family Autism Center were presented with 200 Seatbelt Covers from Norfolk County Sheriff Jerry McDermott and his Chief of Staff Gregory Casey. Thank you for keeping our families safe! We will be distributing these to families who need them from our Family Autism Center (FAC) and Family Support programs.
In a recent survey conducted by FAC, 31 people registered for a seatbelt cover. Results from the survey indicated parent responses that a majority of their loved ones; could not unbuckle themselves; were non-verbal; may wander or bolt when out of a vehicle; and, most importantly (all 31 stated) that their children may not comply with or answer a First Responder. This information supports the work of ALEC and the need for training of First Responders. ALEC continues to work with partners in an effort to communicate with departments about individuals who may have a disability. Seatbelt Covers were created with funding from The Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism.
Here are a list of the Police Departments in Norfolk County that have seat belt covers at their stations:
*Brookline, Norwood and Sharon have them, but their stations are not yet open to the public due to Covid precautions.
Bailey's Team for Autism Award: ALEC would like to acknowledge support from Baiely's Team in 2020! https://www.baileysteam.org/projects-funded.html. Bailey's Team was founded by Sammi Robertson and has supported local projects with more than $1.2 million in grants for autism research, awareness, education and programming. Bailey's Team for Autism supported the ALEC program with a grant in the amount of $10,000 to continue their work in New England, specifically focused on the partnership with the Providence, Rhode Island Police and Fire Departments.
Within the last several months, more than 850 First Responders trained in the Autism Law Enforcement Education Coalition program. In addition to that number, more than 300 additional officers were trained through our growing ALEC train the trainer model. As we wrapped up our "Arc Tank 2.0" funding award of $40,000; we also have built a budding partnership within Rhode Island.
This collaboration provides autism awareness & education training, 911 registration and community outreach supported by ALEC partners - Bailey's Team for Autism, Rhode Island Autism Project, The Groden Center, Autism Society of RI and Safety Net. Bailey's Team for Autism is a local grantmaker & family fund led by Massachusetts residents Sammi and Doug Robertson. Bailey's Team has supported the ALEC program with more than $63,000 over the last decade and really catapulted the program throughout New England, gaining national and international attention.
Another new ALEC partnership in 2020 is with local Norfolk County Sherriff Jerry McDermott's staff. The Sherriff is a Westwood, Massachusetts resident that approached The Arc of South Norfolk's Family Autism Center with an idea to assist families and First Responders. This partnership was featured in the Enterprise (see full Enterprise article here).
Police say people with autism can react differently to first responders, especially in an emergency situation. It was on a trip to Britain and Ireland that Norfolk County Sheriff Jerry McDermott first saw seat belt covers that notify first responders that the wearer has autism. McDermott said that he thought that covers could be helpful at home too. Now the covers, created by McDermott’s office, will be available at a number of police departments including Weymouth, Stoughton, Norwood, Needham, Millis, Holbrook, Dedham, Avon and Sharon. Families can pick the covers up at police stations and slide them on top of seat belts.
“People we talked to thought it was a good idea,” McDermott said. “In the case of an emergency, if the parent or driver is incapacitated, this helps first responders know the situation ... it’s a public safety issue.” People with autism can react differently to first responders, especially in an emergency situation, said Weymouth police officer Jennifer Pompeo, who does community outreach for the department. The covers state: “I have Autism. I May Resist Help.”
McDermott said the covers were created in consultation with a few organizations that deal with autism, like the non-profit The Arc of South Norfolk. “It’s another tool for first responders,” said The Arc’s Vice President Dan Sullivan. “With this they can quickly assess the situation and give more effective aid.” The Westwood based non-profit also runs a program called the Autism and Law Enforcement Education Coalition in collaboration with the Norfolk County District Attorney’s office. The program provides training to police officers, firefighters and emergency personnel on how to communicate and assist people with autism. McDermott said he had 700 covers made in the first run and started donating them to departments this month. He said the covers cost his department about $2 each to make, but they are free to families who want them.
With a recent grant award from Bailey's Team for Autism, ALEC plans to grow the training programs in Providence, Rhode Island and throughout Connecticut and Southeastern MA.