Autism society wants first responders trained to deal with autistic people

The Canadian Press ~ The News
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

SYDNEY, N.S. - The Autism Society of Cape Breton is calling on first responders to be trained to deal with a person with autism during a crisis situation.
Executive director Michelle Gardiner says special skills are needed because people that fall under the autism spectrum respond to the environment in a myriad of ways.
Gardiner says those making decisions need all the information necessary in order to ask the right questions in an emergency.
There has been an increased focus in the last week on how people with autism react to stimuli, particularly after search-and-rescue teams spent two days in earlier this month searching the woods in South Bar for seven-year-old autistic boy James Delorey, who could not speak.
He was found huddled in the fetal position in brush about one kilometre from home on Dec. 7, but he died of hypothermia several hours later at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax.
Gardiner says at the time of a crisis, it's an unrealistic expectation for first responders such as police officers, firefighters, paramedics and search-and-rescue teams to diagnose autism in the field.
Cape Breton Regional Police Chief Myles Burke said talks with the Autism Society of Cape Breton on possible training sessions for officers actually began several weeks before Delorey went missing.
Burke said training dealing specifically with autism will become essential for officers on regular patrol.
He said police officials will meet with the society in the new year to follow through with those plans.

Organizations: Autism Society of Cape Breton, IWK Health Centre

Geographic location: SYDNEY, South Bar, Halifax Cape Breton

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page