developmental disabilities

Thu
20
Dec

Program Trains First Responders to Help Persons With Developmental Disabilities

First responders training on developmental disabilities

Retired Paterson Police Officer Larry Rudesyle recalls when words like ‘crazy’ and ‘retarded’ were used in dispatches to refer to a person behaving erratically.

First responders on the scene might shout at the person to stay still and physically subdue him if he didn’t – only to find out later that the behavior was a manifestation of a developmental disability.

Recently, television shows like Glee have crusaded to banish stereotypes that surround the developmentally disabled. Similarly, the New Jersey Legislature made a big push to improve first responders’ understanding about developmental disabilities and better handle encounters by passing a law in 2008 mandating training. The result was an online course for the state’s more than 100,000 police officers, firefighters and emergency medical services personnel.

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