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Integrating Video Modeling in an Autism Training Program for Law….

October 21, 2020 @ 10:30 am - 11:30 am CDT

Roundtable Discussion

Integrating Video Modeling in an Autism Training Program for Law Enforcement

Erika L. Liljedahl, PsyD, MLS Department Chair and Full Professor, Forensic Psychology, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Online Campus

Frank Lawson, Forensic Psychology: Professional Counselor Licensure Track Student, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Online Campus

Law enforcement officers in the United States gain training to better understand mental health conditions in order to learn how to identify, approach and interface with individuals that have various mental health conditions as diagnosed by the DSM-5.  In the USA specifically, individuals wanting to become law enforcement officers initially learn at the police academy and gain additional training on the job that is relevant to their area.  The impetus for this presentation is the need for additional more in-depth training on the Autism Spectrum Disorders aside from internal training provided by police organizations, given the challenges of identification of this invisible disability.  Given police officers are on hyper alert and are placed in potentially dangerous situations, they need to analyze a situation and make a quick assessment of a scenario in order to maintain community and personal safety.  Identifying an invisible disability can be difficult, especially if the officer has had limited exposure to individuals on the spectrum coupled with their sympathetic arousal when arriving to a scene with only limited information provided by the dispatcher.  Training would consist of an additional, technologically-rich module to the CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) Model on mental illness recognition that is provided in most precincts, and it would primarily focus on ASD and particular resources including community agencies and respective counselors that would assist officers in the identification of this disability. Vignettes and media applications including depictions of ASD in videos and film within the module would enable officers to effectively recognize those individuals they might encounter in given scenarios. This training would further help officers learn effective quick strategies to defuse the ASD individual’s symptoms in order to promote individual and community security without providing a punitive and potentially traumatic response.

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