Posted on Jul. 1, 2021 by Emily Hatch

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.

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