Posted on Dec. 21, 2022 by Lauren Garitee

Law enforcement comes into contact with a plethora of different types of people daily. Because of this, it is necessary for them to receive as much training as possible on how to respectively interact with each unique individual they might encounter.

Those on the autism spectrum may be mistaken with a different type of case when they come in contact with law enforcement – such as drug use. According to a study done from the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, by age 21, one in five young adults with autism had been stopped and questioned by police¹. This a why officers must be trained on how to identify and interact with individuals on the spectrum.

 

Knowing the Signs

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can make communication and social situations difficult for those diagnosed. Individuals may also display behaviors such as hand flapping, rocking back and forth, avoiding eye contact, resistance to direction, and more. But because no two cases are alike, there is no “stereotype” to autistic behavior. This makes it that much more important for officers to be educated on what autistic behavior might look like and how to respond accordingly.

VirTra understands the importance of law enforcement receiving this kind of training. VirTra partnered with the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) to create a curriculum for officers to learn the signs and learn the various ways to respond to a call with someone on the spectrum.

This partnership was our way of ensuring that our curriculum contained accurate information regarding ASD and would effectively support both officers and those diagnosed with ASD.

 

Certified Autism Training for Law Enforcement

Officers can receive 2 hours of certified curriculum through the VirTra simulators.  There is walkthrough training with SARRC CEO Daniel Openden and additional scenarios for officers to put their new skills to the test. All of the actors in the scenarios actually have autism, giving officers real life examples of autistic behavior on a scene.

VirTra now has two ways for you to access this training! If your agency is looking to purchase a simulator, this curriculum comes along with it (and so many more)!

Not ready to purchase a system quite yet? You can access the course by signing up for Certified Training Alliance , an online learning platform for First Responders!

If you would like to learn more about VirTra’s curriculum and simulators, contact a VirTra specialist.

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