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Developmental Disability Training for First Responders

Resources for First Responders that Encourage Optimal Interactions with People with Developmental Disabilities

As part of their participation in the University of Colorado LEADS Program CU medical students, Chris Rogers and Spencer Tomberg developed training for first responders in their interactions with people with developmental disabilities during the 2010-11 year. The project was supported by JFK Partners, the Autism Society of Boulder County, The State of New Jersey and Rutgers University.

There are four training resources that have been developed and are available for distribution:

Online Course: Developmental Disability Training for EMT Continuing Education
A one-hour online continuing education course has been developed to provide training to current EMTs and first responders. The course introduces the challenges of working with someone with a developmental disability. It also provides tools to help address these challenges. This training will be hosted online by University of Colorado Hospital and will be certified for one-hour of continuing education for all Colorado emergency medical technicians. It is also a resource for police and firefighter training.


Autism Specific EMT Basic Training
A 30-minute PowerPoint training program with videos for EMT's that focuses on interactions with people with autism. This program gives new EMTs an introduction on how to identify someone with autism, what challenges may occur in an encounter with a person with autism and what a first responder can do to optimize those encounters. To download the PowerPoint, click here and then click "Save" at the top of the slides. A Teachers' Companion for the course can be downloaded by clicking here


Parent Resource List 
A resource list that parents in Colorado can use to optimize their interactions with first responders. This list includes tips for interacting with first responders, information on tracking devices and identification resources.


First Responder Tip Cards (Front / Back)

A tip card the size of a business card that EMTs and first responders can carry with them that reinforces the key points of the training programs. Anyone can send these to be printed as business cards to hand out at trainings or events.


Other Resources
Family Wandering Resource Plan 
Person Specific Information for First Responders


Any questions about these materials can be directed to Dina Johnson, JFK Partners - or 303-724-7673.