First responders to receive special training for autistic patients

By Mike Renzella

The Haldimand Press

HALDIMAND—Local firefighters and paramedics will soon be given a boost in their ability to work with autistic patients at the scene of an emergency.

The training is the result of a collaboration between Manager of Emergency Sevices/Fire Chief Jason Gallagher and his Administrative Assistant Barb Quinn.

“I was reading the October 19 issue of The Canadian Firefighter and one of the feature articles was ‘Understanding Autism’ and it was a really good article about a fire department out in BC who trained their firefighters in autism awareness and how to interact with children and adults with autism,” said Gallagher. “Some of the ways (a person with autism may) interact on a regular basis could be misinterpreted as a serious accident on scene, when in fact they’re acting normally, and the firefighters and paramedics may not recognize the signs of autism.”

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