PORT MOODY (NEWS 1130) – People with autism in Port Moody can start to feel more comfortable around their local police, thanks to officers taking some new training.
Stephanie Jull with the Canucks Autism Network says the force is among dozens of first responder groups throughout the province who have taken the free training to notice the signs of autism and act accordingly.
“Those kind of behaviours may be interpreted as sort of uncooperative or disengaged, and that’s not the truth at all,” she says. “By providing this education there’s quite simple things first responders can do that will increase the likelihood of those interactions going much more successfully.”
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She says people with autism are seven times more likely to come in contact with first responders, especially when they wander off.
“Teaching first responders some of those simple things about moving a little bit more slowly, leaving a few more pauses between the things that they’re saying, saying clearly: ‘I’m here to help, here’s what I’m going to do, here’s what’s going to happen,’ – all of those small things can really add up to make a big difference,” Jull says.
Surrey Fire, the Kelowna RCMP, North Shore Rescue and many others have also taken the training.