Twenty-four Lincoln County Firefighters recently attended “Autism Spectrum Disorder Training For Public Safety” through the University of Missouri’s Fire & Rescue Training Institute. The course offered Firefighters an understanding of Autism and focused on how to identify persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), understand their risks and provide aid to them more effectively.
Autism Spectrum Disorder is the fastest growing developmental disability in America. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are more than 2,000,000 people or 1 in 68 on the autism spectrum in the United States and tens of millions worldwide. ASD is often characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulty in social interaction, verbal and non verbal communication and repetitive behaviors. It can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention as well as physical health issues, although many individuals with ASD have normal to above average intelligence and are often exceptional at visual skills, math, music, art and other areas.
Communication skills as well as personal interaction directly affect how Firefighters provide aid to those in need. Now, Lincoln County Firefighters are better prepared to handle emergencies involving individuals with ASD.
Thank you to Mary Sullivan-Thomas with Community Opportunities for recommending this training. The Autism Spectrum Disorder Training For Public Safety course is available online through the University of Missouri Fire & Rescue Training Institute.
Our Firefighters who attended the training: Ryan Bergtholdt, Daniel Anderson, Robert Blunk, Jack Cope, Martin Czarnecki, Edward Diepenbrock, Ryan Digiuseppi, Ken Elliott, Valerie Elliott, Steven Fair, Timothy Fiebiger, Allen Heyer, Adam Johnson, Michael Noonan, Adam Ordelheide, Christopher Pruden, Patrick Reid, Jason Sauer, Lee Schieffer, Patrick Schwent, Sr., Robert Shramek, Jr., Caleb Smith, Scott Weir and Mike Wietkamp.