04/02/2012

NM police, Autism team train together

Red Alert and Autism Training was designed to teach LE the physical signs, similarities and differences of children who live with such conditions

By CariSue Flores
Silver City Sun-News

SILVER CITY, N.M. — The Silver City Police Department and the Grant County Autism Resource Center came together last week to put on a program that allowed local police officers and children diagnosed with autism, down syndrome, traumatic brain injuries and cerebral palsy to get to know each other.

The program — Red Alert and Autism Training — was designed to teach local law enforcement the physical signs, similarities and differences of children who live with such conditions and injuries in order to give officers a better view on how to interact with them and help if someone gets lost or is in trouble, according to Maria Izquierdo, the family coordinator for ARC. Along with hanging out with the children, officers also participated in training sessions that focused on communication and awareness.

"We want to make sure (police officers) know how the children communicate, their behaviors, how they may react to you," said Izquierdo. "Most of these children will not be able to talk, tell you their name or even who their parents are."

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