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Preliminary evidence for a training improving first responder knowledge and confidence to work with individuals with Autism

Abigail M.A. Love (Department of Educational, School and Counseling Psychology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA)
Kirsten S. Railey (Department of Educational, School and Counseling Psychology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA)
Marissa Phelps (Department of Educational, School and Counseling Psychology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA)
Jonathan M. Campbell (Department of Psychology, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, North Carolina, USA)
Heidi A. Cooley-Cook (College of Education and Human Development, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, USA)
R. Larry Taylor (College of Education and Human Development, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, USA)

Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour

ISSN: 2050-8824

Article publication date: 26 June 2020

Issue publication date: 5 November 2020

179

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate outcomes associated with a training designed to improve interactions between first responders and individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Design/methodology/approach

Authors examined the responses of a group of first responders (N = 224) who completed a survey before and after a training to assess their (a) knowledge of ASD, (b) confidence for working with individuals with ASD, (c) comfort responding to a call and (d) ratings of the training they received.

Findings

Findings indicated first responders demonstrated more knowledge of ASD, increased confidence for working with individuals with ASD and improved comfort when responding to a call.

Research limitations/implications

This preliminary report serves as initial evidence of the importance of rigorous work examining trainings designed to improve interactions between first responders and individuals with ASD.

Practical implications

The results of this study justify continued rigorous research on the effectivness of ENACT, as a training designed to improve knowledge and comfort of first responders who work with individuals with ASD.

Originality/value

This study fills an identified need for research on trainings designed to educate first responders about ASD.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors are aware of different preferences and reasoning regarding the use of person-first language (e.g. individual with ASD) versus identity-first language (e.g. autistic individual). The authors understand that preferences differ according to individuals and audiences; they chose to use person-first language in this paper.

Citation

Love, A.M.A., Railey, K.S., Phelps, M., Campbell, J.M., Cooley-Cook, H.A. and Taylor, R.L. (2020), "Preliminary evidence for a training improving first responder knowledge and confidence to work with individuals with Autism", Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, Vol. 11 No. 4, pp. 211-219. https://doi.org/10.1108/JIDOB-04-2020-0007

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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