BRISTOL - State Rep. Cara Pavalock, R-Bristol, recently joined her colleagues in the state House of Representatives in voting in favor of a measure which would require training programs for state and local law enforcement on children with autism spectrum disorders.
The programs would train officers on cases involving wandering children with the disorder.
“This is a very important bill which will go a long way in helping to equip law enforcement with the knowledge they need to successfully intervene in an emergency situation involving children with ASD, who may have put themselves in harm’s way by wandering off,” said Pavalock, a member of the legislature’s Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Caucus. “Learning proper interventions and de-escalation techniques is paramount to being successful with children who have ASD. This mandatory training will provide those skills to police officers who will be helping to intervene on behalf of a child’s safety.”
The bill is titled An Act Concerning Training Programs for State and Local Police Regarding Juveniles with Autism Spectrum Disorder or Nonverbal Learning Disorder. It would require each State Police basic or field training program to provide at least 27 hours of training on certain juvenile matters and each review program to provide at least one hour of training regarding techniques for handing incidents, such as wandering.
The bill passed unanimously out of the state House and awaits further action by the state Senate. Also happening at the State Capitol during the same day was the annual Autism Awareness Day. Pavalock joined fellow legislators, parents and individuals affected by autism in the advocacy day celebration, which seeks to raise awareness, provide support and promote acceptance.
Pavalock met with Bristol resident Lee McFadden, an advocate for families affected by autism, including her own sons. McFadden discussed her support for the proposal.
“I’d like to especially thank those parents and caregivers like Lee McFadden, who continue to be the voice of their loved ones with ASD,” said Pavalock. “Their unwavering efforts to advocate and raise awareness are critical, and events like the legislature’s annual Autism Advocacy Day are important to keeping open dialogue and working together to provide assistance and support to those most in need.”
- Rep. Cara Pavalock