The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) will be conducting autism training for deputy sheriffs and first responders for the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office in St. Augustine, FL beginning January 2018. Over 400 St. Johns County law enforcement officers will take part in the training, which will address what Autism Spectrum Disorder is, how to recognize and communicate with an individual who may have ASD and how to reduce risk.
“With 1 in 68 children diagnosed with autism per year, it is vital that first responders and law enforcement are trained how to recognize and react to situations before they escalate when encountering an individual with special needs,” said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES board chairman. “IBCCES has developed a training curriculum that meets the highest certification standards so that emergency and law enforcement personnel are able to recognize and communicate with individuals with autism and stay up-to-date in training each year.”
All attendees undergoing the training will receive their certification in autism following completion, making St. Johns County the first sheriff’s office in Florida with autism certification through IBCCES, a worldwide provider of autism and mental health training and certification.
“St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office has committed to autism training in order to assist the special needs community in a safe and effective manner when situations arise,” said Sheriff David Shoar. “We are excited to be the first law enforcement agency in Florida to undergo autism training and certification through IBCCES so that we have the tools and resources to benefit our entire community, including these special individuals.”
As of Oct. 1, 2017, Florida law enforcement is required to undergo training on how to identify characteristics of autism, as well as how to appropriately respond to individuals who display such behaviors. The push for legislation came after a police shooting in Miami left an unarmed black therapist shot and injured while he was protecting his client on the autism spectrum. The new law is designed to increase education and awareness and reduce potential risk.
“Training for first responders on autism on how to interact with individuals with an autism diagnosis is critical,” said Scott Badesch, president/CEO of Autism Society of America. “Effective training creates a productive partnership among those impacted by autism and first responders to assure the safety and well-being of all.”
Autism training for law enforcement and first responders is available through IBCCES in-person, online or in live-streamed formats. The training is two-hours in length and includes time for role-play scenarios specific to the law enforcement or first responder audience. Online training is self-paced and can be taken at the trainee’s convenience. Individuals who complete the training receive their Autism Certificate through IBCCES.
IBCCES has been training educators and healthcare professionals for 15 years in autism and special needs, with certificate-holders and IBCCES-certified specialists located in 42 countries.