Interaction of first responders with people with autism and other developmental disabilities was the focus of a free community development and safety training session held July 13, 2022 at the Lloyd B. Johnson Law Enforcement Training Center, 947 Cambridge Drive in LaPlace. Dustin Chandler of The Interaction Advisory Group led the presentation.

IAD community development safety training is open to people associated with development disabilities and who want to learn more about being prepared for emergency situations.

Recognizing autism and development disabilities, developing a safety action plan, helpful disclosure information for first responders, tips on safe interaction with police, wondering dangers and prevention tips were among the topics.

Participants also learned about local and state resources available for families associated with developmental disabilities.

Officers with the SJSO attended a morning session, and an evening course was held for the public to help autistic children and adults and their families.

“Officers are usually the first to respond to an emergency, so it’s important for law enforcement to be knowledgeable about autism and the way people with autism may behave during an emergency situation,” Sheriff Tregre said. “To interact effectively with autistic individuals, officers need to recognize the signs of autism and know how to approach the person to work towards a positive outcome.”