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Inclusive safety expo helps first responders with skills

Dustin Chandler teaching first responders how to interact and engage with individuals with developmental disabilities
Posted at 11:55 AM, Jun 27, 2024

LAFAYETTE, La. — In times of emergency, communication is key—but what about those in the community who may have difficulty expressing themselves?

An inclusive safety expo aims to provide first responders with essential skills for interacting with individuals with developmental disabilities.

The expo, hosted by the Autism Society of Acadiana, will take place at Pathway Church and feature a variety of trainings, workshops, and informational sessions designed to benefit individuals on the spectrum. These workshops will also help uniformed personnel respond more effectively to these individuals.

KATC spoke with Dustin Chandler, President of the Interaction Advisory Group, which offers first responders training in disability awareness. Chandler is particularly passionate about this cause, as his own daughter has a neurological and seizure disorder.

With experience as a former police officer, current EMT, and parent of a child with special needs, Chandler understands the importance of teaching other first responders how to better interact with those in our community who require more understanding.

"It's important to ensure fair treatment," Chandler says. "If there is going to be more than just a brief encounter, we need to make sure everyone is treated fairly throughout the process. Officers need to understand what to consider as they move forward with their actions."

The expo hopes to be a step toward a more inclusive and effective emergency response in our community.

If you are interested in attending, click here for a link.