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First Responder Autism Awareness Training – Free for all Emergency Responders

April 18 @ 8:30 am - 3:30 pm


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the fastest-growing neurobiological condition in the world, which means first responders are more likely than ever to encounter a person with ASD during an emergency response. Since autism can impair a person’s ability to communicate and relate to others, these calls can become high risk for both the responder and a person with ASD.

The Autism Society of Nassau-Suffolk, Erie County Law Enforcement Foundation, Erie County Chiefs of Police, and Hilbert College Institute for Law and Justice present



Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Hilbert College, Swan Auditorium, 5200 South Park Avenue, Hamburg, NY  14075

8:30 a.m. Check in for training.

9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Full day training

9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Half day training

Excellent Training Opportunity for All Emergency Responders

• Overview of Autism, what autism is, how people are affected by it,
• Education about the challenges associated with ASD that may impair communication between an individual with ASD and a first responder,
• Tools that can help identify people with autism, sensory problems, and calming techniques,
• The importance of multiple officers’ presence when an arrest of an autism person is necessary and restraint considerations,
• Important tips on where to look for a lost autistic child when reported missing, and
• Different programs that are available for people that elope, including but not limited to, the Take Me Home Program and Project Lifesaver.

REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED.  Please email Veronica Garcia, Director of Development, NSASA at vgarcia@nsasa.org or call 516-205-9925.


Ret. Lt. Jimmy Donohoe is the creator of the Take Me Home Program, a database which allows those who are unable to speak or properly identify themselves to police officers to register with a photo, physical description and contact information so first responders can provide special assistance that may be required when contact with a person with autism occurs. This program has been distributed to hundreds of law enforcement agencies nationwide and four foreign countries to help people with disabilities during crisis situations.

He has served on the National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability National Advisory Committee as well as the Autism Society’s Safe & Sound Task Force and the Autism Pensacola Board of Directors. He helped develop the curriculum for the mandatory autism training for law enforcement in the state of Florida. Ret. Lt. Donohoe is considered a Subject Matter Expert on how first responders handle autism in the State of Florida and is a father of a son on the spectrum.

Ret. Captain Bill Cannata is a retired captain from the Westwood, MA Fire Department with more than 35 years of experience as a firefighter. He became a member of the Autism and Law Enforcement Education Coalition (ALEC) in November 2003 and in January 2006, he became the statewide coordinator of ALEC. He also served as a member of the Autism Society’s Safe & Sound Task Force.

The father of a son who lives on the autism spectrum, he has trained firefighters across the country to be better prepared to rescue people with autism in an emergency. Mr. Cannata’s efforts have gained national attention from NBC’s “Today” show and Autism Speaks, among others.


Hilbert College, Swan Auditorium
5200 South Park Avenue
Hamburg, NY 14075 United States
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