In November and December, Autism Action Partnership ( trained first responders on autism to improve mutual understanding and build critical safety skills. First responders and law enforcement responders from Council Bluffs and the rural Pottawattamie county attended the training. The event was facilitated by staff from Autism Action Partnership. The training and sensory kits were available due to a grant from the Community Foundation for Western Iowa.

One in 36 children is diagnosed with autism. Children with autism are growing up and participating in community life more than ever before, with an estimated 70,000 kids with autism turning 18 every year. Even when the police are trained or know that someone has a disability, things can still go wrong if the person with a disability is unprepared for a police encounter. Their first instinctive reaction might be a “fight or flight” response, especially if the person is unfamiliar with the police or their procedures. This event will help first responders prepare for all different kinds of encounters, ranging from asking for help to being detained as a suspect.

Autism Action Partnership aims to improve the quality of life of persons on the Autism Spectrum and their families though education, advocacy and support, thereby enabling them to be an integral part of the community. For more information, visit