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Autism Training for Hudson Valley First Responders

April is autism awareness month and Dutchess County holds special training for first responders. As part of the Dutchess County “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” initiative, county executive Mark Molinaro took law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and security through Autism training.



The “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” initiative, promotes a welcoming and supportive environment for individuals with special needs in Dutchess County. The training was conducted by Bill Cannata, coordinator of the Autism and Law Enforcement Education Center. Molinaro said, “During an emergency, when every second counts, the lessons learned today will save the lives of those on the autism spectrum.” Cannata, has more than 35 years of experience as a firefighter and has a child with autism. He trains firefighters across the country of how to be better prepared to rescue people with autism in an emergency.

The training covered how to identified the characteristics and behavior of a person living on the autism spectrum and how to communicate with someone with autism. What steps are needed to respond to an emergency with someone on the spectrum and how to build relationships with the autism community.

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