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LAFAYETTE, Louisiana – In emergency situations, communication is key – but what about those in society who may have difficulty expressing themselves?

An inclusive safety exhibition is designed to teach first responders important skills in dealing with people with developmental disabilities.

Hosted by the Autism Society of Acadiana, the expo will take place at Pathway Church and will include a series of trainings, workshops and information sessions designed specifically for people with autism spectrum disorder. These workshops will also help uniformed personnel respond more effectively to these individuals.

KATC spoke with Dustin Chandler, president of Interaction Advisory Group, which provides disability awareness training to first responders. The issue is particularly dear to Chandler’s heart because his own daughter has a neurological disorder and a seizure disorder.

With his experiences as a former police officer, current EMT and father of a child with special needs, Chandler knows the importance of teaching other first responders how to better interact with those in our community who need more understanding.

“It’s important to ensure fair treatment,” says Chandler. “If it’s going to be more than just a brief encounter, we need to make sure everyone is treated fairly throughout the process. Officers need to know what to consider as they move forward.”

The Expo is intended to be a step towards a more comprehensive and effective emergency response in our community.

If you are interested in participating, click here for the link.