Curt Gordon Memorial CHC-NE Foundation Update: Autism Action Partnership's "BE SAFE" Training


Earlier this year, five of our member charities received the 2018 grants from the Curt Gordon Memorial CHC-NE Foundation. These funds were awarded above and beyond the quarterly distributions that these charities are receiving from CHC-NE, which are provided by donors through the annual statewide campaign. Autism Action Partnership received funding to support its "BE SAFE" Interactive Movie Screening.

The screening was held on June 13, 2018, and 50 officers from 10 different agencies were trained to recognize and respond to individuals with different types of disabilities. Emily Iland, M.A., is an award-winning author, advocate, film-maker, researcher and leader in the autism field. Emily and her son Tom, a self-advocate, offered cutting-edge safety training to help bridge the gap between law enforcement professionals and the autism community.

 It is absolutely necessary to train police to understand autism and related disabilities. It is equally important to train youth with developmental disabilities to interact safely with police. Officers were trained to recognize and respond to individuals with different types of disabilities (autism, intellectual disability, sensory impairment, etc.) with a customized version of the Experience Autism program. Next, we introduced those trained officers to individuals with autism or disabilities at a "BE SAFE" Interactive Movie Screening. Officers helped the young adults learn what to do in different everyday encounters with police.

Thanks to the Curt Gordon Memorial CHC-NE Foundation grant, all participants received a DVD copy of "BE SAFE" to take home. The most exciting outcome is that this project also built capacity in our community. Autism Action Partnership offered a "BE SAFE" Certificate Course to 50 local educators, transition professionals, and officers. Participants learned to use the "BE SAFE" curriculum to reduce risk and improve outcomes in police encounters. Participants are prepared and empowered to continue making a difference in the community for years to come.