RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – A unique training for police officers in the River Valley. The Russellville Police Department is undergoing autism training.
According to the CDC, about 1 in 59 children are identified as having an autism spectrum disorder.
Kim Keller’s most important job is being a mom. She has a 16-year-old who is autistic. She’s also the director of A Meeting of Minds, or AMOM. It’s a nonprofit autism support group based in Russellville.
”With autism, it seems like you get the diagnosis and it’s, ‘Good luck, God bless, go google it,” Keller said.
She recently helped facilitate a new instructional course for the Russellville Police Department.
It helps officers learn how to identify someone with autism when they are called to a scene.
“It really opened our eyes with how they communicate. How they see daily life,” Russellville Police Captain David Ewing said.
Captain Ewing says being able to understand all parties when they are called to a scene is key.
“We should be able to communicate with all aspects and all people within our community. I think this is really going to help,” Captain Ewing said.
Keller says it gives her peace of mind because she is a mother herself.
“When you add stimulates like lights, sirens, high-stress situation. It’s really hard for them to process that information.”
For her being the director of AMOM, it brings her joy her community is doing this.
“I would say one of the top 5 concerns for families is what happens in an emergency situation,” Keller said.
To learn more about AMOM, visit www.facebook.com/AMOMsupport.