Highlights of the Report of The Massachusetts Autism Commission
The recent Massachusetts Autism Commission Report, (March 2013), recommends that the Department of Developmental Disabilities determine the number of people with Autism in Massachusetts and their support needs by implementing a plan for consistent statewide data collection. The report also states the need to "increase the range of housing options for individuals with Autism." With 1 in 68 U.S. children diagnosed on the Autism spectrum, the tsunami of adults and young adults with housing needs is clearly upon us. The Commission reports that "housing capacity in existing programs is outstripped by demand." In addition "many adults with Autism who are DDS eligible may not be prioritized for this level of services and do not receive such a placement until a family crisis. This can result in a sudden, traumatic change in the living situation, with a loss of community ties and supports."
"Lastly, the shortage of emergency housing for the general population affects individuals with Autism--those with Autism and not eligible for services that do not have the support of family or loved ones are at a high risk for becoming homeless."
ALEC (Autism Legal Enforcement Education Coalition) Training
(excerpt from Cape Cod online - Cape Cod Times)
F.O.R.W.A.R.D. worked with the Dennis Police Department to bring ALEC training to the Dennis Police Department. On Thursday, November 20, police from Dennis & surrounding towns, as well as several community members & friends of F.O.R.W.A.R.D. gathered to participate in a training to educate first responders about Autism, given by Roger White from the Quincy Police Department. Officer White is also the father of a young man with Autism. White is a veteran trainer on this subject.
The training provided an array of concrete information about this complex neurological disorder, for an audience with little experience or understanding of Autism. Did you know that drowning is the leading cause of death for people with Autism? People with Autism Spectrum Disorder & Alzheimer's are prone to wandering & seek water sources. Officer White provided icon cards, with pictures & language in English & Spanish, to help police communicate with people with ASD, who often have serious communication difficulties. He reported that approximately 50% of people with Autism are non-verbal.
The training included strategies for identifying & de-escalating situations with people with Autism, with the caveat that each individual on the Autism Spectrum is unique, defying global protocols. There was encouragement to take advantage of opportunities to become familiar with local police departments: Community Days, filling out an endangered person register, or simply making an appointment to visit the police station for a tour to familiarize someone with ASD with their local department.
F.O.R.W.A.R.D. is working with ALEC, CAPABILITIES & the Dennis Police to bring another ALEC training for families and community members to Dennis this Winter, 2015. Stay tuned for information about our continuing efforts to provide community education.
“It is what I would call a solid 4.5 star experience. In other words, I give it a 9 out of 10.”