Top News

Editorial: Autism education is key

 ..
..

For some first responders around the region, last week was an eye-opener.

Firefighters, paramedics, RCMP officers and others attended training sessions with the Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Throughout the session, various scenarios were discussed about emergencies that could potentially involve someone with autism.
From a fire breaking out to a car accident to eloping (wandering away), the ways to interact with someone who has autism are just as plentiful as the number of emergency situations first responders encounter.
Would you know how to get the attention of someone with autism who may not have strong communication skills?
Although each person is different, the presenter gave several scenarios where the autistic person may become more comfortable with someone approaching them.
For example, a child with autism may have a favourite song. If they are missing and you are out searching for them, they may not respond to their name. They may, however, respond to the song.
Let’s say “The Wheels on the Bus” is the song of choice. If you’re walking in an area where the child might be and you start singing, “The wheels on the bus go ‘round and ‘round …” it’s possible the child may sing it back or at least respond to your voice.
If someone is scared, they may use echolalia, which means they repeat everything you say.
Sometimes those unaware of this situation may think the person is being rude or attempting to be funny, but it’s a way for some autistic individuals to communicate so the person they are speaking with knows they understand what they are saying.
Although many people think of a child being in these situations, the presenters stressed that it’s not just children.
Incidents have been reported in this province of adults with autism going missing from hospitals or care facilities. Kids are often reported missing from school or home.
The autism society offers red puzzle pieces that families with an autistic person can place on their front door or in their cars in case of an emergency. This way, first responders, like the ones trained last week, will know there is someone with autism in that home or vehicle, and they may have to communicate with them in a different way.
The training will head east across the province, with emergency crews and first responders from all over the island receiving the knowledge to help in these scenarios.
Although it’s not something everyone thinks about, it’s certainly something everyone should know.

Firefighters, paramedics, RCMP officers and others attended training sessions with the Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Throughout the session, various scenarios were discussed about emergencies that could potentially involve someone with autism.
From a fire breaking out to a car accident to eloping (wandering away), the ways to interact with someone who has autism are just as plentiful as the number of emergency situations first responders encounter.
Would you know how to get the attention of someone with autism who may not have strong communication skills?
Although each person is different, the presenter gave several scenarios where the autistic person may become more comfortable with someone approaching them.
For example, a child with autism may have a favourite song. If they are missing and you are out searching for them, they may not respond to their name. They may, however, respond to the song.
Let’s say “The Wheels on the Bus” is the song of choice. If you’re walking in an area where the child might be and you start singing, “The wheels on the bus go ‘round and ‘round …” it’s possible the child may sing it back or at least respond to your voice.
If someone is scared, they may use echolalia, which means they repeat everything you say.
Sometimes those unaware of this situation may think the person is being rude or attempting to be funny, but it’s a way for some autistic individuals to communicate so the person they are speaking with knows they understand what they are saying.
Although many people think of a child being in these situations, the presenters stressed that it’s not just children.
Incidents have been reported in this province of adults with autism going missing from hospitals or care facilities. Kids are often reported missing from school or home.
The autism society offers red puzzle pieces that families with an autistic person can place on their front door or in their cars in case of an emergency. This way, first responders, like the ones trained last week, will know there is someone with autism in that home or vehicle, and they may have to communicate with them in a different way.
The training will head east across the province, with emergency crews and first responders from all over the island receiving the knowledge to help in these scenarios.
Although it’s not something everyone thinks about, it’s certainly something everyone should know.

Recent Stories