Hopebridge Invites Local First Responders to Engage with Children with Autism During World Autism Month

Autism Therapy Provider Encourages Children with Autism to Build Critical Relationships with Local First Responders

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, April 15, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hopebridge Autism Therapy Centers, one of the largest autism therapy providers in the nation, is teaming up with local fire, police and emergency medical departments to host their annual First Responder Day at Hopebridge centers. This event aligns with Hopebridge’s recognition of World Autism Month and aims to foster connections between first responders and the autism community.

Recent data from the CDC (2020) shows that 1 in 36 children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). As autism diagnosis continues to rise, so does the likelihood of interactions between first responders and individuals with ASD. Autism, a neurodevelopmental condition that affects communication, behavior and social interaction, can present unique challenges for first responders who may not have encountered such situations before.

The sensory sensitivities experienced by people with autism can make loud noises and bright lights, like those from an emergency responder vehicle, very overwhelming. Establishing a trusted relationship between children with autism and uniformed first responders, their equipment, and vehicles is crucial during emergencies. D Hopebridge First Responder Days, children will have the opportunity to explore fire trucks, police cars, and emergency medical vehicles, interact with their local heroes, and participate in engaging activities together.

Jana Sarno, Chief Clinical Officer at Hopebridge, emphasizes the importance of familiarizing children with emergency responders in a stress-free environment. “Individuals with autism may experience unique challenges in emergency situations, and it's our goal to equip first responders with the knowledge and understanding to provide effective support. By fostering a culture of inclusivity and raising awareness, we can create safer and more supportive communities for individuals of all neurodiversities.”

Not only is it critical for children with autism to be familiar with first responders, but it is also equally important for first responders to recognize signs that a child may have autism. Knowing some common signs of autism like difficulty with social-communication (such as following instructions, responding to gestures, among others), rigid and repetitive behavior can help officers adapt the way they approach a child on emergency encounters. By visiting Hopebridge centers and interacting with the children in a safe and clinician-lead setting, these first responders have the opportunity to learn how best to help a child with autism in an emergency situation.

In addition to the event, Hopebridge clinicians also incorporate learning about first responders into their therapy sessions. Through activities like reading books during circle time and engaging in imaginative play, children develop familiarity and appreciation for local first responder heroes.

For more information about autism diagnostic services or therapy options, please visit: www.hopebridge.com

Looking for an impactful career? Hopebridge is hiring compassionate mission-driven team members to help extend resources to the autism community. Serving 12 different states and with over 100 centers, there is a unique opportunity for everyone to serve this special community.

For more information about how you can join the Hopebridge team, please visit: jobs.hopebridge.com


About Hopebridge

Hopebridge was founded in 2005 to serve the growing need for autism treatment services and to improve the lives of affected children and families. Hopebridge is committed to providing personalized outpatient ABA, occupational, speech and feeding therapies for children touched by autism spectrum disorder and behavioral, physical, social, communication and sensory challenges. Hopebridge provides a trusted place where they can receive the care, support and hope they deserve.

Nearly two decades later, Hopebridge continues to open state-of-the-art autism therapy centers in new communities to reach patients and families who need services. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Hopebridge operates over 100 centers in the following twelve states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Ohio and Tennessee.


First Responder Day at Hopebridge Autism Therapy Center