During the February 14, 2020, Fifth Day Experience, students from Butler Tech’s Project LIFE program partnered with local law enforcement officers from Cincinnati Police Department, Delhi Township, and Logan County Sherriff’s Department to receive specialized training about autism and related disabilities through the Experience Autism® program. Experience Autism is the only evidence-based autism police training in the country. The event was organized and supported by Butler Tech’s Supervisor of Transition Programs, Michael Albrecht, the Regional Autism Advisory Council of Southwest Ohio and sponsored by the former Jack Rubinstein Foundation for Developmental Disabilities.
During the full-day session, officers experienced simulation activities to understand what it is like to have features of autism and learned how to interact effectively with individuals with autism and related conditions. With the information fresh in their minds, each officer or deputy was then paired with a Butler Tech Project LIFE student with autism or other developmental disability for an interactive screening of BE SAFE the Movie. The movie shows how to interact safely with police officers in different everyday situations. After watching the movie, first responders and the students practiced life-saving skills such as asking for help and following instructions. As the officers were mentoring their student partners, they were also actively learning from them.
“My partner was super awesome and helped me understand their special communication needs,” explained one of the officers.
Another officer shared, “Simply, thank you. I will leave here a better person and a better officer today.”