Omaha Public Radio News
10:08 am
Fri May 6, 2011

New partnership seeks to help first responders understand needs of autistic children

Omaha, NE – A Papillion woman has created a training program to help first responders and medical personnel respond to the needs of autistic children.

The Nebraska Parent and Responders Partnership came about when Renee Kiernan's four-year-old autistic son had an emergency situation late last year. "We found that the emergency personnel didn't know how to treat him and respond to him and I didn't know how to advocate for my non-verbal son. So it ended up being a pretty chaotic experience. When I got home I called the school and said I really just want to offer training for those in my community."

Kiernan says first responders and law enforcement should keep in mind that some autistic children have sensory issues. Others might be attracted to shiny objects such as police badges. No two autistic children are alike.

Kiernan estimates one in 110 children are autistic.