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First responders gain autism training

Local - 4/28/2014 4:55 PM by Stuart Hammer

BECKLEY – First responders are forced to expect the unexpected on an emergency run, but how do you handle a person with autism?

Beckley firefighters and other first responders are now trained in how to deal with autism. Officials say autistic people often don't react the way you might expect in an emergency, and might not even recognize an emergency at all.

Bill Cannata is a retired fire captain from Boston who takes his program across the country, blending his professional experience with his personal experience that he's learned from his 23-year-old autistic son.

“We want to have successful outcomes - we want to do the right thing,” says Cannata.

“I’m giving these people the tools so that can happen if they do come in contact with a person. They know what to expect and they know how to really control the situation much better.”

Cannata says the key for first responders is to slow it down and control the sensory environment.


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