Sheriff’s Dept. to host autism program

The following is a press release from Oxford County Sheriff Wayne Gallant:

April is National Autism Awareness month. The increase in the last 10 to 12 years in individuals being diagnosed with Autism is staggering. It is now believed that nearly one in 68  children are and can be diagnosed with this developmental disability.

With the month of May quickly coming to a close I thought it was crucial that we continue to  educate medical providers, first responders,  educators , and community members in autism awareness  well beyond this month of Autism Awareness. So I am excited, along with the Holy Savior Parish, to host an Autism Awareness Training on April 30, 2014 at the Holy Savior Parish Hall on Maine Ave. in Rumford at 6 p.m. The below information provides needed information.  Matt Brown does an excellent job in his presentations.

One in every 6 children is affected by a developmental disability, and one in 68 is diagnosed with Autism.  The prevalence for Autism has increased 289% in the last 12 years.  Persons with a developmental disability like Autism display many behaviors that law enforcement and other first responders can easily misinterpret, with tragic results.  Persons with Autism often wander and drown, and are increasingly becoming involved in the criminal justice system, as both defendant and victims.

It is imperative that all agencies involved in these situations be knowledgeable about this issue, to ensure the safety of both the person affected, as well as the first responders involved in these calls.  It is equally important that Court personnel, including prosecutors, victim-witness advocates, defense counsel, probation officers and judges, be informed on this issue, to ensure a just resolution when these matters reach the criminal justice system.

U.S. Probation Officer Matt Brown is a 25 year veteran of state and federal law enforcement, and the parent of a child on the Autism Spectrum.  For over 10 years, he has trained thousands of first responders in Maine and beyond, about this critical issue.  He is an instructor at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy on this topic, and an instructor with the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program, and recently formed Autism Safety Education & Training, to bring the training to other states.

Matt will present a detailed training session on this topic, specifically designed for first responders of all types, court personnel, school systems and other interested agencies that work with people affected by a developmental disability.  He will also discuss his vision of creating a “Developmental Disability & Autism Response Team (DART)” in Oxford County.

Date/time:  WEDNESDAY, APRIL 30, from 6-9 p.m.  A training presentation, followed by an informational brainstorming session on a proactive, community-wide response to this issue

Place:  Holy Savior Parish Hall, Rumford, ME