Wednesday, August 27, 2014

School Safety Officer Training in Working with Students with Special Needs

At one of my high schools this morning the new school safety officer (from our county's police department) introduced himself to two of my teachers for students with autism.  He described the training he had just received on understanding and working with people of all ages with special needs.

Adults with psychiatric disabilities and parents of students with emotional and/or developmental disabilities had spoken to his group on common characteristics and behaviors of people they might encounter in the community.  The officers wore headphones to simulate a person "hearing voices" and then tried to interact with another person during a role-playing session.  One parent showed videos of her son with autism, highlighting how quickly his emotions could escalate and how a photo of a favorite object (Godzilla!) reminded him to calm himself.

The officer said that he'd like to get to know the students and for teachers to let him know what familiar items or photos might help their students de-escalate if they were in a crisis.  I was so happy I almost hugged him.

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