Effective, advanced training comes with a monetary cost. That cost is well worth the lives saved due to the knowledge officers gain from it. For smaller law enforcement agencies or ones that experienced budget cuts, there is a way to acquire training through grant programs.


It is Easy to Get Grant Funding with VirTra Solutions

With a strong need for law enforcement to be trained on specific topics, many grants have requirements to be met for a training solution to fall under its umbrella. De-escalation training and individuals with mental illnesses are topics covered under many training grants in recent years.

VirTra has a strong focus on scenarios that provide non-lethal pathways to resolution. Over 100 scenarios in our library do not require the user to use a firearm. Branching options provide multiple options for officers to take during training, allowing them to use verbal communication skills to de-escalate an irate subject. Additionally, we submit courses through IADLEST’s NCP program for certification accepted by POST in 36 states.

Hours of mental illness and autism awareness coursework is included in our clients’ systems. The scenarios and curriculum provide a strong foundation for officers to recognize the signs that a subject they are interacting with may have a mental illness or be on the autism spectrum. Not only is the recognition important, but knowing how to properly communicate is too. Scenarios allow officers to compassionately settle incidents – whether it is a public disturbance or a person having a mental health crisis.

Another focus is on community relations with a focus on showcasing how the agency trains. Relations can be strengthened through hosting media days, community events, and demonstrations. When community members and stakeholders experience the benefits of simulation training and how it can positively impact public safety, they will feel more secure in the agency that serves them.


The Latest Grants Available

As of now, there are some brand new grant programs that VirTra’s capabilities fit under.

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Fiscal Year 2024 Appropriations Bill

This brand new bill announced in July for FY 2024 sets aside $20M for de-escalation training and $10M for mental health and wellness. Click here to get more details about this funding opportunity.

Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program

This program for FY 2023 is specifically for city, county, tribal, and special district agencies. Virtual reality de-escalation training is supported as well. Click here to read more about this opportunity. Keep in mind that the deadline is next month – August 24!


Grant Guides

If your department needs extra help writing grants or researching, VirTra offers the Grant Assistance Program. This program provides instructors with free, one-on-one customized grant help dedicated solely to training simulations and firearm training projects. Instructors can receive help with the entire process—grant research, alert notices, application reviews, etc.—at no cost. Start receiving free grant assistance by clicking here!

April is National Autism Awareness Month. Around this time in 2020, VirTra released the “Autism Awareness” course to help law enforcement recognize the signs of autism. This would not have been achieved without the partnership and expertise of SARRC – Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center.

Since the inception of this training program, agencies all around the country have received the coursework and scenarios. Some agencies such as Utah Attorney General’s (UAG) Office have made VirTra’s Autism Awareness training a requirement. So, what has happened with VirTra, SARRC, and the autism community since 2020?

Autism Training Program Adoption

The UAG inspired Utah agencies to adopt the Autism Awareness training program. In fact, Utah Governor Cox signed H.B. 162 (peace officer training amendments) and H.B. 334 (special needs training for law enforcement). These two bills required POST training to include 16 hours of training on autism and mental illnesses. The training programs include the use of classwork, bodycam review, and VirTra’s simulated scenarios to familiarize officers with autism spectrum disorder.

Additionally, the UAG received the Best of State award for their Virtual Reality Training Center and the lessons officers learn from it – including Autism Awareness. Sean Reyes of the UAG even received the First Annual Autism Award in 2021 for the impact they’ve made by teaching officers about autism.

Even in 2020 when the program was barely released to the public, VirTra received positive feedback from Chief Muma of Jerome Police Department in AZ. “I really thought it was well developed,” said Muma during a video interview. “It brought forth something that I don’t think we’ve had in the field… It’s provided something that has been lacking in the industry for a long time.”

SARRC’s Major Achievements

A lot has happened since SARRC was formed in 1997. What was once considered a 1 in 500 diagnosis has shifted due to further research. Now, it is reported that 1 in 36 children are diagnosed with autism. According to SARRC’s recent statistics, here is what they have provided for the autism community and their families just over the past year:

  • Provided 151K clinical intervention hours with those on the autism spectrum and their families.
  • Served 1.1K individuals with autism through clinical and research programs.
  • Screened 251 individuals through the Diagnostics Services program.
  • Educated 125 children with and without autism in SARRC’s Community School program.

VirTra values our partnership with SARRC not only because of the great assistance they have provided us in releasing our coursework to law enforcement. We also truly believe in their mission and drive to make the world a better place for those with autism spectrum disorder.

The Future of Autism Awareness

The country has made great strides in not only diagnosis, but in educating the public about the signs of autism and how to communicate with someone on the spectrum. People who are communicating with a wide variety of citizens every day – such as police officers – are especially deserving of this type of training.

In the past, there have been unfortunate instances where officers have mistaken autistic behaviors as “suspicious” or even drug-related. With the number of agencies now receiving training and the general public awareness of the disorder, we hope to see the number of these situations decrease significantly.

To learn how to obtain the Autism Awareness course, contact a VirTra specialist.


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.

As a member of law enforcement, think for a moment about how many people you interact with daily and how many people you talk with in one shift. Effective communication is a critical piece of the job. We interact with individuals from all walks of life. That includes individuals who have mental illness. The key to effective communication is behavior recognition to choose the best communication style for the individual and the situation.

When it comes to interacting with individuals who have mental illness, choosing the communication style that best fits the situation is the best course of action. We do not communicate with a diagnosis, but with a human being.

The question we should ask ourselves: does the diagnosis itself matter? In most cases, it does not.

A diagnosis is informative at best. What is more important from a law enforcement perspective is we choose the right type of communication for an individual and the behavior exhibited at the time of interaction. The risk comes from misreading behaviors from individuals and not from whether a person has a diagnosis or not.

However, there is a large part of the population that has a diagnosis for a mental illness at any given time. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly one in five adults in the U.S. have some type of mental illness. Mental illness is a broad term – there are many symptoms that accompany different diagnoses. Awareness of behavior is a key factor in how an officer interacts with any person, mental illness or not.

Types of Mental Illness & Disorders

Mental illness doesn’t discriminate. Some disorders are genetic and others are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. They can be influenced by many factors, environment included.

Law enforcement officers interact with individuals who may have one or more of the following diagnoses:

  • Anxiety
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Crisis and crisis-like behavior
  • Dementia and Neurocognitive Disorders
  • Depression
  • Expression of suicidal ideation
  • Schizophrenia
  • Substance Use
  • Trauma & PTS
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Choosing the Best Communication Strategy

It is important to emphasize that members of law enforcement should not attempt to diagnose; the goal is familiarization of behaviors. Individuals who have a serious mental illness may find themselves more likely to have an encounter with police. In fact, persons who have a mental illness are more likely to be victims of a crime. That doesn’t mean there are not interactions that have violence, volatility, and instability. But that comes from anyone we deal with and is not relative to mental illness alone.

Some strategies for dealing with crisis or crisis-like behavior may include:

  • Actively listen
  • Speak calmly
  • Be non-judgmental
  • Allow individuals to express their emotions if safe to do so
  • Try to distance a person from whatever or whoever is causing them distress (redirection)

Another critical component of understanding mental illness is intervention. When possible, encourage individuals to seek help. Knowing what is available and providing information lays a foundation for showing you care and that there is hope.

Never sacrifice safety for a behavioral health intervention. We have a responsibility to the individual, the public, and to ourselves. Abandoning sound tactics is never the answer.

Substance Use Disorders & Dual Diagnosis

Dual diagnosis is a known problem – one where a person experiences both a mental illness and a substance use disorder simultaneously. People use substances for various reasons. There is an correlation of trauma and substance use.

Some diagnoses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder may have behaviors that mimic substance use.  Recognizing the differences is not necessarily possible. That is why addressing behavior is the key.


Autism spectrum disorder affects the way a person socializes, speaks and acts. It is called a spectrum for a reason – there are some people with autism that have barely noticeable traits, while others are entirely nonverbal and rely on a caregiver to help them communicate.

There have been instances where a person on the autism spectrum have experienced difficulties and trauma as officers thought that drugs played a part in the behavior rather than there was a foundation of miscommunication. The number of similar incidents involving members on the spectrum creates the notion that there is a lack of training in this field.

Why Simulation Training Helps

When designed and tested correctly, simulation training provides a realistic environment for law enforcement members to practice in. Video-based simulation is even better, as it features real people and allows officers to pick up on subtle visual cues (such as facial expressions and small movements) that cannot be replicated with CGI.

The right kind of simulator has high-definition video, numerous scenario branching options and thorough debrief capabilities. When interacting with an on-screen subject, officers should practice to recognize various behaviors and choose the appropriate verbal techniques for that situation.

Much more than hardware, the vital part of simulation training is the quality of the content. Do officers truly learn something from what they are experiencing in the simulator? VirTra ensures content quality and skill transfer by submitting all curriculum – including our Mental Illness and Autism Awareness courses – to IADLEST for NCP certification.

VirTra’s Solution

Working and creating partnerships with industry experts has assisted VirTra in creating coursework that benefits law enforcement. With 15 hours of mental illness curriculum and 2 hours of autism curriculum, police trainers can have effective training at their fingertips. The pre-made curriculum doesn’t just include the scenarios, but also student handouts, instructor manuals, testing materials and more. It is intended to make the instructor’s job easier with coursework that can be used right out of the box.

In 2021, the state of Utah began requiring that law enforcement members obtain training hours solely dedicated to autism awareness, thanks to the Utah Attorney General’s Office. Some of the hours involve the use of a VirTra training simulator due to its immersive qualities and the detailed course structure.

“The beautiful thing about the system is that we can change the dialogue, we can change the reaction, the response and we can make it harder [or] better depending on how the officer is navigating this situation. We worked with families with children with autism spectrum disorder; we worked with experts in the education field, in the medical community, to behavioral scientists, to actually try to create and develop these modules.” – Sean Reyes, Utah Attorney General (Quote: ABC News)

By having the officers at your agency become familiar with the concepts of mental illness and autism spectrum disorder, they are keeping both themselves and their communities safe. It allows agencies to build trust and confidence from the community by making an effort to understand all members within it.

If you wish to learn more about VirTra’s coursework and how we combine simulation technology and adult learning, contact us.


Article originally published by Officer.com

Back in the early 2000’s, the CDC reported 1 in 150 children had ASD (1)—autism spectrum disorder. Fast forward to 2018, the numbers increased to 1 in 54 children with autism. Now, as more data is gathered and more parents/ caretakers are aware of the signs, the latest data shows that 1 in 44 children are diagnosed with ASD.

The jump in numbers, especially considering the short span of time, can be due to a variety of reasons. But at the end of the day, what this means for us is that officers will be interacting with ASD individuals if they know it or not. As instructors, it is our job to ensure officers are aware of the signs and equipped with the proper communication skills so interactions with ASD individuals go as smooth as possible for everyone involved.

As such, autism training needs to be extensive, understood and reviewed often. What many don’t realize is that 40% of individuals with ASD are nonverbal (2)—another communication challenge that officers must overcome. Or that 31% of children with ASD have an intellectual disability that creates significant challenges in daily function (2). So even if your department currently engages in autism training, does it cover the entire range of autistic disabilities and communication differences?

The best way to ensure complete, proper training is to utilize nationally-certified training curriculum. For example, VirTra’s Training and Curriculum department worked with the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) to create our certified “Autism Awareness” curriculum. Having SARRC as a partner provided us with valuable insight into autism, which we transfer to officers by teaching how to recognize the signs, communication strategies and how to reduce confusion and risk. This is accomplished through a combination of presentations, handbooks, videos and practice scenarios—as delivered by the instructor—for well-rounded training.

Training your officers about autism is not only important—it is expected. Communities have voiced their concerns and expectations and it is our job to fulfill them. One great example of this is the West Jordan Police Department, which underwent autism training consisting of VirTra’s curriculum and discussions with community members. After, Chief Ken Wallentine stated: “We’re astonished at the positive comments from our officers. They feel much better prepared to handle calls for service involving persons with autism and to practice empathy in an effective way.”

Engaging in autism training has a ripple effect that helps your officers, who in turn, help their communities. April is Autism Awareness Month, making it no better time to get started. Help us spread awareness and better training by sharing our message.


This article was originally published in IADLEST April 2022 Newsletter



  1. “Data & Statistics on Autism Spectrum Disorder.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2 Dec. 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html.
  2. “Autism Statistics and Facts.” Autism Speaks, https://www.autismspeaks.org/autism-statistics-asd

Imagine you are training in an immersive law enforcement simulator. The screens darken, then light up with a desert scene as the dispatch relays information on the call you are responding to. Pedestrians give you further information about the event, then point you towards a man sitting on a ledge. It becomes clear: this is a suicide call and you need to carefully persuade the man to seek help, not jump. 

This is a difficult situation, but a necessary one to train for, as any officer can be called to prevent suicide. But as important as the training topic is, the method of training is just as important. For officers who train with VirTra’s systems, the scenario will unfold based on the officer’s actions and words, creating real-life training designed to benefit both officers and their communities. Officers can train in the same scenario multiple times, trying new de-escalation tactics or certain phrases, then see how the situation plays out. Does an action cause the man to comply, lash out or jump? Which verbiage best comes into play here? Instructors watch over the trainees and, depending on the officer’s choices, they choose the applicable branch in the situation and thus create a new ending. 

Virtual Interactive Coursework Training Academy 

The simulator itself is an incredible training tool, but what about combining the classroom and the simulator? VirTra created the V-VICTA® program, which is a series of nationally-certified curriculum that is first taught in the classroom then practiced in the simulator. This all-in-one training solution instills proper training and knowledge transfer, thus helping officers remember their training in the field and utilize it to help those around them. 

For example, one V-VICTA curriculum is “Autism Awareness.” This material teaches officers how to identify possible autistic behaviors and the best ways to interact with the subject. Officers who aren’t taught how to recognize and react accordingly to these behaviors could put the subject or themselves at risk. And, according to data from the CDC, 1 in 54 children are diagnosed with autism, making it extremely likely that every field officer will interact with someone on the spectrum. To improve safety for officers and every member of their community, they must first know how to best interact with every member of the community.  

Officer training is complex, but it is always centered around safety—for subjects, bystanders, partners and oneself. To learn more about VirTra’s V-VICTA training curriculum, or to try a training simulator at an upcoming trade show, contact a VirTra specialist.

April is recognized as Autism Awareness Month. April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day. On this month, businesses, charities, parents and those with autism themselves take extra time to spread awareness of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Individuals on the autism spectrum have unique communication needs that not everyone understands, but awareness has been gradually spreading and allowing growth of acceptance.

Why it’s Important to Understand Autism

The most recent data from the CDC states that 1 in 54 children are diagnosed with ASD. With this large number combined with the amount of people a single officer interacts with on a daily basis, it is inevitable that they will make contact with someone on the spectrum. Autism can appear in all ethnicities, genders and socioeconomic groups, and some who have it display very few traits.

Autism is referred to as a “spectrum” due to the wide range of traits presented. Sometimes it is nearly impossible to tell someone was has autism because they behave and interact the way neurotypical people do. On the other side of the spectrum, some people may be non-verbal and have heavy reliance on a caregiver.

There have been incidents around the United States where officers mistook autistic behaviors for suspicious activity. Due to self-stimulation (called “stimming”) methods and unique ways of communicating, officers have reacted improperly and traumatized people with ASD. As part of being a police officer involves building community trust, meeting individual needs is crucial.

How To Build Trust with the Autism Community

Due to the frequency of which law enforcement officers may interact with people on the spectrum, VirTra worked with Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) to create certified curriculum for officers in 2020. This 2-hour coursework was certified at this time two years ago. It allows first responders to use their VirTra simulator to practice interactions with people on the spectrum. Titled “Autism Awareness,” it has been installed on hundreds of systems over the past two years.

This course is part of V-VICTA® – one of many NCP-certified courses that goes through rigorous review before becoming available to officers. Besides just giving written tips for how to handle interactions, officers have access to a walkthrough video featuring SARRC Director Daniel Openden. Scenarios also let officers practice interactions in branching scenarios filmed with actual people on the spectrum.

The Results of Awareness

Both VirTra and SARRC hope to see the number of officers using this curriculum grow. It does more than just paint police in a better light, but provides comfort to autistic individuals and their families. As mentioned, many current customers already have this coursework installed on their systems. We encourage you to get started if you haven’t already!

VirTra and SARRC were able to extensively test the Autism Awareness curriculum pre-launch. Current VirTra customers ran through the coursework, letting content developers know how it assisted them and what could be improved. One of which was Chief Muma of Jerome Police Department, who found great value in the training and was willing to provide it to his agency. The video below shows his testimony.

Contact us to learn more about how to utilize this curriculum in your department. We hope it will help awareness spread.

As science discovers more about autism spectrum disorder (ASD), it becomes clearer how to communicate with autistic individuals. Because of a lack of knowledge of their unique communication needs, there have been unfortunate events in the past involving police officers and the autistic community. To reduce these incidents and ensure trust between the autistic community and law enforcement, steps have been taken to educate officers.

Law enforcement agencies around the United States are beginning to take advantage of various educational resources to understand ASD. One of the methods is through VirTra’s V-VICTA™ curriculum titled “Autism Awareness.” This 2-hour course — a collaboration between VirTra and Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) — includes scenarios and video walkthroughs. The goal is teaching law enforcement officers how to recognize the signs of autism and communicate appropriately.

Success Stories

An example of a successful approach was done by Utah Attorney General’s Office (UAG), who inspired Utah agencies to adopt the Autism Awareness training program. They have recently won the Best of State award for their Virtual Reality Training Center and the lessons officers learn from it – from Autism Awareness to de-escalation and use-of-force tactics. The framed award is pictured below.

Additionally, in September 2021, UAG Sean Reyes was awarded with the First Annual Autism Award for their efforts in making the community a safer place. As its name suggests, it was the first award of its kind and was awarded to UAG due to the impact they have made in educating law enforcement members about autism.

Law Enforcement Autism Curriculum

Some of the tips that officers can learn through VirTra’s Autism Awareness coursework includes recognizing the signs, making sure communication is clear and ensuring the person is comfortable during the encounter. It is no question that law enforcement around the country want to create a good relationship with the public, including those with special needs. Using the coursework’s tests, training manual, presentations and more, the goal is to maintain trust with the community.

To learn more about how VirTra can help law enforcement better understand ASD, contact a product specialist.

Due to a string of unfortunate incidents where officers have mistaken autistic behaviors for criminal or deceptive actions, people with autism have been unnecessarily traumatized and even injured. After seeing this around the country and even in their own state, a partnership between Arizona companies VirTra and the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC) formed to bridge the gap of understanding.

With the expertise and knowledge of autism provided by SARRC, VirTra created educational scenarios designed to train officers on recognizing the signs. Owners of the VirTra simulator are able to utilize nationally-certified curriculum – “Autism Awareness” – and interact with an on-screen character—in this case, hired actors that are on the spectrum. During the training, officers only need to verbally communicate and never need to pull out a lethal or less-lethal weapon—thus learning how to properly interact with those on the spectrum.

Before getting to the interactive simulation portion, officers can go through a virtual walkthrough by an on-screen instructor – SARRC CEO Daniel Openden – to familiarize themselves with what autism is and how it affects people. The course is set up for written materials to be used as well, including lesson plans and tests designed to ensure officers and trainees are retaining the information in the classroom.

Lon Bartel, VirTra’s Director of Training & Curriculum, planned and designed this curriculum for more than a year before its official launch, and thanks to SARRC, it was able to become a reality in April 2020. It was tested and reviewed by a handful of agencies across the country who volunteered to see it in its unfinished form and offer critiques. One of the agencies that experienced it before launch is Jerome Police Department in Arizona. In a small town a few hours north of Phoenix, Chief Muma offered a testimony after reviewing the curriculum. “I really thought it was well developed,” said Muma during a video interview. “It brought forth something that I don’t think we’ve had in the field… It’s provided something that has been lacking in the industry for a long time.”

Outcomes of interactions between law enforcement and individuals on the spectrum came into focus after a problematic incident in Mesa, AZ – right in the backyard of both SARRC and VirTra – where an officer mistook the behaviors of an autistic teenager for drug use. The teenager was walking in a park, doing self-stimulation (also known as ‘stimming’) with a piece of string when a patrol officer approached. Due to the teen being on the spectrum, he was unable to communicate the way neurotypical individuals do, which the officer did not recognize and tackled the boy as he tried to walk away from the encounter, suffering injuries in turn.

This, along with several other similar issues across the country, further prompted VirTra and SARRC to launch the curriculum and have it nationally-certified in time for Autism Awareness Month in 2020.

“I can’t necessarily make every officer out there an expert,” said Lon Bartel when asked about the collaboration between SARRC and VirTra in a recent podcast. “But if I can create a dynamic of a certain situation where they can come across somebody on the spectrum and just immediately recognize that this might be the situation…I have the opportunity to change the outcome.” Bartel was accompanied by Openden during the podcast as well, explaining that part of safe communities includes allowing officers to think beyond the possibility of drugs or avoidant behavior, but consider the possibility the subject they are speaking with has autism.

Autism Awareness is part of VirTra’s Virtual Interactive Coursework Training Academy (V-VICTA™) and comes entirely free of charge to customers that have a VirTra simulator with an annual service plan. This means hundreds of law enforcement agencies nationwide have access – or will have access – to the Autism Awareness curriculum. This curriculum, as well as all of VirTra’s other coursework, has been nationally certified by IADLEST, passing their vigorous extensive review process.

For those interested in learning more about VirTra’s training technology and curriculum, which includes other topics such as mental illness and de-escalation, visit VirTra’s website at www.virtra.com. To watch and listen to the podcast referenced earlier in this story, visit The Autism ADHD Podcast.

VirTra believes that training should be as effective as it is realistic. When trainees feel the real-life pressures of a high-stakes scenario, practice maneuvering through difficult de-escalation conversations or learn proper judgmental use of force in training, it increases their abilities and skill transfer to the field.

Creating powerful training scenarios and curriculum is no easy feat, so VirTra often turns to experts in their respective fields. For example, in honor of Autism Awareness Month, VirTra spent two years collaborating with the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) to create and launch our progressive Autism Awareness curriculum.

By partnering with the experts at SARRC, VirTra was able to create curriculum that helps officers to recognize the signs of autism and to develop skills and strategies for improving interaction while minimizing risk to both the officer and individual. Utilizing SARRC’s knowledge and first-hand experience was critical in creating a powerful curriculum that could benefit officers nationwide.

As touched on before, VirTra also works with industry professionals to create relevant curriculum that isn’t often widely taught. In the case of our autism awareness curriculum, it was recently discovered that approximately 1 in 54 children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which suggests that 50,000 teens with ASD are transitioning into adulthood each year. This significantly increases the likelihood of interaction between law enforcement and autistic individuals, making it especially critical for officers to receive this training.

Yet, autism training is not currently widely taught, with only 45% of officers surveyed said they received training on interacting with autistic individuals. It is VirTra and SARRC’s goal to increase this number, to have more officers trained on the topic of autism and to get law enforcement training with nationally-certified curriculum and real-life scenarios.

To learn more about our autism awareness curriculum, and other curriculum formed with industry experts, contact a VirTra specialist.