Boyertown Community Ambulance Service is now a Certified Autism Center™, designated by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). This designation means that EMS staff and first responders have received position-specific training to enhance their understanding and sensitivity when helping autistic individuals or those with other sensory sensitivities. The Boyertown Community Ambulance raised $6,000 in funds to train staff and purchase sensory kits for their ambulances.
The Boyertown Community Ambulance Service now has new tools in its toolbox to treat autistic individuals. These tools include noise canceling earphones, sunglasses, charts, and fidget toys to help calm autistic patients, especially when dealing with sensory overload emergencies. They also carry special tablets to communicate. The IBCCES training and these tools can help save lives.
“I feel it’s vital for EMS providers to be able to recognize signs that may indicate someone is autistic. During the COVID pandemic, we responded to many patients with autism spectrum disorder. We found this to be very difficult to communicate since many of these patients were no longer in a routine or familiar environment. This posed a huge barrier while trying to treat life-threatening emergencies,” said Jeff Knopf, executive director of EMS for the Boyertown Community Ambulance Service. “Many times, we are not aware that the person has autism spectrum disorder unless their caretaker informs us. Autistic patients can sometimes pose a critical barrier to EMS when treating them. Therefore, I think because of this, I felt it was important to train our crews and have them be able to recognize patients on the spectrum and communicate effectively.”
For more than 20 years, IBCCES has been the industry leader in cognitive disorder training and certification for education, healthcare, and corporate professionals around the globe. IBCCES provides evidence-based training and certification programs created in conjunction with clinical experts and autistic individuals in order to provide professionals serving individuals with these needs a better understanding of how to communicate and interact with individuals with cognitive differences or sensory needs, industry best practices, and the latest research in these areas.
“We know that training, specifically in autism and other needs, is critical to help save lives and ensure professionals such as the team at Boyertown can be as effective in their roles as possible. We’re excited to work with Boyertown Community Ambulance Services to help provide the best care for all,” said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman.
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