From the Examiner: Public-safety telecommunicators from the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office’s Communications Division are the first group of operators in the state of New Jersey who were trained on how to prepare themselves when responding to calls involving individuals with autism.

Each of the 67 public-safety telecommunicators from the Monmouth County 911 Communications Center received five hours of training from Frank Hines, an autism awareness trainer with the New Jersey Department of Health, and a parent of a child with autism.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, New Jersey has some of the highest rates of autism in the nation, with one in every 94 children being diagnosed as autistic.

Through the training course, operators are briefed on what questions need to be asked when dealing with an emergency situation regarding an individual with autism. Those questions include if the individual is verbal or non-verbal, how he or she interacts with people, what if any unusual behaviors does the individual have, has the individual wandered off before, and if so, where? Once operators gather that information, they will pass it on to responding agencies on how best to approach the situation, as well as decide if additional first responders need to be dispatched. Read the entire article here.