For Immediate Release - December 03, 2010

D.A. Blodgett To Host Training For Police In Dealing With Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorders

Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett will host a training next week for police officers to assist them in dealing with victims, witnesses and suspects who have Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The training will take place on Tuesday, December 7, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. in his fifth floor office at 10 Federal Street, Salem.

It will be conducted by representatives from The Autism and Law Enforcement Education Coalition (ALEC), and will train first responders to recognize people with ASD. It will provide an overview of ASD behaviors and characteristics, discuss how best to communicate with people with ASD, and suggest solutions to issues first responders may face.

All of the instructors in this training are not only first responders, but parents of children with ASD.

According to ALEC, ASD is now estimated to occur once in every 166 births, and people with ASD are seven times more likely to have 911 encounters than people in the general population.

"This training is very important both for the safety of first responders and the ASD population," said District Attorney Blodgett. "It will provide the officers with a greater understanding of people with ASD, and will enhance their communications skills with this population. I'm confident it will help them avoid unfortunate situations, and result in positive outcomes in the vast majority of cases."

The media are welcome to attend.