As per recent research reports, there are an estimated 3.5 million autistic individuals living in the United States currently. The medical fraternity has observed that one in sixty-eight children suffer from autism spectrum disorders or ASD in the nation today.
These statistics have prompted the entire community to adopt certain measures to promote awareness about autism spectrum disorders, thereby ensuring that autistic individuals get the required help during times of distress or emergency.
It is imperative for individuals in a society to understand that autism is a serious health condition wherein patients need specialized care and attention to ensure their longterm wellbeing.
Aid for Autism Awareness for First Responders In New York
A landmark initiative by the State of New York is underway, wherein assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara of the 111th District authored a bill that proposes to spread awareness regarding autism spectrum disorder through specialized training programs for all the first responders in New York, ranging from the fire department, police force, and other related units.
In the proposal, Santabarbara has clearly stated that every first responder is required to undergo specific training that enables them to understand the basic modes of communication when encountering an autistic child or adult during any emergency.
The bill on the training program was passed and approved as part of the New York State budget this year and is currently awaiting approval from Governor Cuomo. An initial grant of $250,000 has been approved in this bill and will be specifically allocated towards aid for autism awareness and training programs for the first responders.
An allied bill is also being considered by the State of New York, wherein every autistic individual will be able to carry an autism identification card on their person, that will provide the first responders with basic information such as their name, address, emergency contact numbers, etc.
Currently, Angelo Santabarbara is serving the State as the Chair of the State Assembly’s Sub-Committee on Autism Spectrum Disorders. His own son, Michael, was diagnosed with autism at the young age of three.
Ray Senecal, the Chief of the Fire Department at Schenectady, has voiced his support and lauded this remarkable initiative that has been specifically designed to educate law enforcement officers about the needs of those suffering from autism.
Aid for autism training is a pioneering step that has been envisioned by the State of New York and is a definitive move in the right direction. This legislation should be emulated by all the states in order to make the US a safer place for individuals with autism spectrum disorders.
What are Autism Spectrum Disorders?
The root cause for autism spectrum disorders or ASD is believed to be birth complications during the pre-natal or perinatal stages. Children are known to display signs of ASD from an early age, sometimes as young as one year old.
Autism is a neurological disorder that affects the basic cognitive functions in an individual such as speech, comprehension, memory, and motor abilities. The onset of autism is often caused by the lack of oxygenated blood supply to critical areas of the brain that control the main cognitive functions of the human body.
Early diagnosis of this condition and timely treatment can facilitate improvement and effective management of the condition to a great extent. This is the primary reason why this bill is expected to make a huge difference to the lives of those living with autism spectrum disorders.