Few people are as dedicated to public service. But meet Officer Michael Coleman. Coleman is a Henderson Police officer well known for his dedication to service. Today he heads a team of two other fellow officers focused on crisis response, specifically educating his colleagues about autism awareness. This guarantees that every member of the team is adequately trained to identify and handle interactions with individuals with autism in a manner acceptable.

Taking steps like these helps the Henderson community & shows other law enforcement agencies the importance of focusing on inclusivity and compassion in their training programs.

Autism Special Needs

A good number of people still have never given thought to how Autistic individual carry out communication with police officers, considering the fact that Autistic people are a naturally marginalized group. As any Autism parent would attest, sensory overload can be an overwhelming experience for individuals with autism, and this may lead to a “meltdown” or outburst.

When a police officer who may not be aware of this unique trait is involved, the situation can become even more challenging. A lack of understanding could lead to a confrontation or, even worse, an arrest.

In some cases, others may see the lack of a verbal response as non-compliance when in fact, it is simply a result of sensory overload, anxiety, or communication difficulties common in individuals with autism.

Officer Coleman’s expertise

Coleman’s expertise has made him a highly sought-after speaker, with police departments across the US regularly inviting him to conduct training and educate both officers and the community on these potentially life-saving lessons. He shared that after every training session, several officers come up to him and share their experiences of successfully implementing what they learned in real-life situations, resulting in de-escalation and resolution rather than confrontation and arrest.

His experience with close relatives affected by autism and the evident need for specialized training in the community were the driving forces behind Officer Coleman’s creation of this program. As a result, these trainings have helped prevent individuals from being hospitalized as a result of police interactions.  Such initiatives serve as a reminder of empathy and understanding in law enforcement, particularly when it comes to interacting with vulnerable individuals.

Autism care and treatment

Aside from the ongoing efforts in Law Enforcement to support ASD individuals, there are also numerous organizations in other states working towards promoting the accessibility and affordability of this crucial treatment. One such notable organization is the Nevada Autism Center, which has been providing top-notch therapy services to individuals with autism and their families.

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