Free autism safety training sessions better prepare families and first responders

Families along with police, fire and EMS are taking part in free safety training sessions at Northwestern Michigan College this week to broaden their knowledge of how to interact with individuals with autism during emergency situations.

While the sessions are focused on all emergencies, experts say it is especially important to be able to recognize people with autism disorder who are in or near water, because of potential drowning risks.

According to the National Autism Association, drowning and wandering are among the leading causes of death of individuals with autism.

Those participating in the sessions will expand their knowledge about autism disorder, be able to recognize people with the disorder, and learn how to effectively interact with people with autism.

The sessions for police, fire and EMS are Tuesday from 7pm to 9pm and Wednesday from 10am to 12pm.

The family, school and community safety session is Wednesday from 6:30pm to 8:30pm.

All safety sessions will be held in the NMC Scholars Hall, room 109.

Sgt. Scott Schuelke, an Autism Safety Specialist, is leading the sessions.

The sessions are sponsored by the Michigan Risk Management Authority and NMC.