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A group of moms with autistic kids are training first responders

A group of moms with autistic children just created the group Badge Buddies, and their goal is to train first responders to understand how to interact with Autistic children in crises. (KNOE) -
A group of moms with autistic children just created the group Badge Buddies, and their goal is to train first responders to understand how to interact with Autistic children in crises. (KNOE) -(KNOE)
Published: Jul. 23, 2019 at 6:27 AM CDT
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A group of moms in the area with autistic children are trying to raise awareness. Their group is called 'Badge Buddies', and their goal is to train first responders, so they understand how to interact with autistic children in emergencies.

"These are kids that may not be able to tell you who their parents are if they wander off in the store, or if they're in a crisis situation," says Dr. Dawn Stanfield, who's part of the group. "They may demonstrate some negative qualities, that people would consider negative, but it's their coping system it's what they're doing to get through the situation."

She says over the years the classification for Autism has changed, and it's now a spectrum disorder, so it's essential to make people aware of different behaviors.

Hannah Zaunbrecher has a child with autism and says, as a mom, you can spot the signs of Autism, but for others, it's not always that easy.

"So just wanting the community and first responders to be able to pinpoint that," explains Zaunbrecher. "And say well ok someone's not making eye contact very well, they're stimming, they're being non-compliant."

They're bringing in a nationally certified trainer from Florida, who has a child with Autism, to teach the course.

At the training they'll talk about, "how to interact with a person with autism, some warning signs that you may be able to recognize, he'll do some role-playing so that these first responders really get hands-on experience," says Dr. Stanfield.

They have their first training on September 11th with two classes during the day from 8 a.m. to noon or 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. They'll have breakfast served for the morning training, and lunch during the second training.

They've already handed out flyers to different Fire Departments, Police Departments, and Paramedics. They say any first responders from the Arklamiss are welcome to attend the classes for free, and there is still time to sign up.

On August 17th, they have their Pancake Breakfast fundraiser at Applebees from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. The money raised from ticket sales will go towards the cost of their training course. The address is 4911 Pecanland Mall Drive, Monroe, LA 71203.

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