Safety on the Spectrum™

First Responder

The Safety on the Spectrum™: First Responder Program is a national effort to promote safe and equitable interactions between First Responders and the Autism Community. Leveraging a “train-the-trainer” approach, the Autism Society will impact positive change at a national level through grassroots efforts and local leadership. This training has been developed in collaboration with first responders, members of the Autism community, parents, social workers, and local community leaders.


Approximately 1 in 5 young adults with Autism will interact with a police officer before the age of 21. Too many of these events result in restraint, arrest, improper use of force, physical and emotional trauma, and tragic death. These devastating outcomes occur when police misinterpret benign Autistic behaviors as suspicious, evasive, or dangerous. This is largely because police are trained to respond to a crisis with a protocol that does not consider neurodivergence.


By working together, we can address systemic issues, and promote safety and inclusion of all members of our community.

  • Increased collaboration between local first-responder and disability communities
  • Increased visibility of first responders as hometown heroes in local communities
  • Consistency between first-responder departments across states
  • Investment in prevention costs leading to a reduction in response costs
  • Certified departments become national leaders in Autism-informed policing  and response

Kevin & Avonte Grant

The Autism Society is leading a National effort to prevent water and wandering-related deaths through proactive programming, public awareness, and public policy. The Autism Society will collaborate with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and The Arc’s National Center on  Criminal Justice and Disability® (NCCJD®) to provide training and technical assistance to organizations and agencies within law enforcement, public safety, and the disability community. The Autism Society will expand its Safety on the Spectrum programming and lead a national public education and awareness campaign. We will identify and develop best practice guidance to support first responders, policymakers, and community leaders that improve public safety for those in the Autism, Developmental Disability, and Alzheimer’s communities.