Autism Awareness for Responders

Issue 4 and Volume 162.

By ALAN J. MARTIN and TILDA MIMS “Thirteen-year-old boy dies in Missouri home fire.”“Firefighter injured rescuing 10-year-old boy.”“Oregon couple sentenced for fire death of 19-year-old son.” These actual headlines all involved individuals with autism. In each case, autism contributed to the child’s death. The 13-year-old boy refused to escape with his family; his body was found in the bathroom behind a locked door. The 10-year-old was safely removed by his mother but died when he ran back into his burning home seeking the sanctuary of his bedroom. The Oregon couple often locked their son in the apartment when they went out together because he had no sense of danger and would often wander away. Can tragedies like these occur in your community? Absolutely. The right knowledge and training can help prevent similar situations. Autism is the fastest growing developmental disorder in the United States. It occurs in all communities, regardless…

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