Law Enforcement, Fire Safety and Disaster Preparedness for the Autism and Developmental Disability Community

All parents have safety concerns regarding their children. Still, children and adults with autism are at a higher risk of interactions with law enforcement, being hurt, victimized, or wandering away (sometimes called eloping). The Autism Society Inland Empire assists First Responders and families in addressing these issues. Safety skills can be taught as part of life skills. Some of these skills can be added to an IEP as part of an in-home ABA program or Independent Living Skills (ILS) program. We want to equip our community with the knowledge and resources so we all can live healthy life.

Communication Toolkit

Autistic people communicate differently. Some people may be non-verbal or find traditional forms of communication difficult or confusing, and during a time of stress, communication may get even more difficult. Thanks to a grant from Ability Central, the Autism Society Inland Empire, with the help of adults with Autism and professionals, has created an Emergency Toolkit. This toolkit is being given to First Responders and families to give the members of our community to communicate in a crisis situation. Click here for more information.

deputy chief pointing

Disaster Preparedness

People with disabilities are 2 to 4 times more likely to die or sustain a critical injury during a disaster than people without disabilities. Since 2016, the Autism Society Inland Empire has started its Safety and Disaster Preparedness Initiative. We have subject matter experts and adults with Autism present on topics including building a safety plan, preparing for a disaster, active shooter training, interacting with law enforcement, using a fire extinguisher, what to do during an earthquake, hands-only CPR, and more.  Click here for more information.

First Responder Training

By the time they reach age 21, one in five autistic youths will have been questioned by police and one in 20 will be arrested.  The Autism Society Inland Empire has created a 4-hour POST certified training, “Use of Force & De-escalation or Individuals with Autism and Developmental Disabilities.”  This class is taught by retired officer Brian Herritt and features interaction with adults with Autism and other developmental disabilities.  Over 200 officers have been trained, and the class continues to receive excellent reviews.  There may be a charge for this class, depending on grant availability.  Contact us at 951-220-6922 or for more information.

House on fire

House Fire Safety Resources

Make Sure Your Family Is Prepared!It is common for some individuals with Autism to want to stay in their bedroom or their favorite safe place during a fire.  They may be waiting for someone to rescue them or tell them what to do.  Some will be overcome with the fight, flight, or freeze response and even become combative if someone tries to remove them from their room.  Click here on how to help your family prepare for a house fire.

Safety Registration Programs

These optional programs are designed to assist Law Enforcement agencies with members of the community who have disabilities such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Dementia, Alzheimer’s, Down syndrome, and other developmental and intellectual disabilities to ensure the special needs person’s safe return home.  Click here to find information for Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange Counties.

Woman buckling child in car seat

Safety Resources for the Autism Community

We have compiled a list of safety information and resources on bullying, home and car, workshops, apps, and more!

Click here to be taken to our Safety Resource library. 

Sensory Kits for First Responders – NEW!

Providing Understanding for our Community.Thank you to the American Express/Phil Mickelson Foundation for a grant allowing Autism Society Inland Empire to create 500 Sensory Kits for First Responders.  These sensory kits were developed from input from First Responders, individuals with Autism, occupational therapists, and educators.  These kits are designed to support the emergency scene operations of a person with Autism or other sensory disorders that can be overwhelmed by an emergency situation.  There may be a charge for these resources, depending on grant availability.  If you are a First Responder agency and would like more information on the Sensory Kits, please contact us at (951) 220-6922 or