The ALEC Program trains First Responders (Fire, Police and EMS personnel) on autism spectrum disorders and the best practices when involved in a crisis situation with someone diagnosed with autism. The ALEC Program has been in existence since 2003, and the trainers are First Responders who have a loved one diagnosed with autism. First Responders hear from a colleague who has the professional knowledge of the field, as well as the personal experience of having a loved one diagnosed with autism.
With autism spectrum disorder (rates skyrocketing to a rate of 1:68 children, the number of interactions people with ASD have with First Responders (Fire, Police and EMS personnel) is going up. Specialized training needs to happen to ensure the safety of not only the person diagnosed with ASD, but the First Responders on scene as well. People with autism have communication issues, and First Responders need to know their typical approach to an emergency with someone with ASD may not work.
The ALEC Program will train First Responders (FR)about ASD with an Autism 101 training. This training gives an overview of the characteristics and possible behaviors of someone diagnosed with ASD. A training relevant to the field being trained will then be presented:Firefighters will be trained on what they may encounter in an emergency situation, Police Officers trained on Police related emergencies, and EMS will be trained on EMS related situations. To date, ALEC has trained over 32,000 FR.
The long-term impact on educating First Responders about ASD, as well as training people with ASD on how to interact with their own local FR, will be a safer community for everyone to live in. The more education our First Responders are given in providing the best practices involving an emergency situation with someone with ASD, the better the outcome for the entire community at large. The more we educate people with ASD on how to interact with FR, the better prepared we are for emergencies.