BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — During Autism Awareness Month, the Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services is providing Kern County law enforcement with training on what to do if they encounter someone with autism.
All deputies at the Kern County Sheriff’s Office must go through a 40-hour crisis intervention training program, which includes a class specifically on autism, according to officials.
Deputy Sheriff Anthony Catalde’s son has autism and he says the best approach deputies or officers can take when speaking to someone with autism is to take it slow.
“I know a lot of the juveniles with autism, they’re just not comfortable in their own skin at times. And so if you can show them that ‘I’m there to help. I’m your friend. I’m not here to do anything to you. I just want to talk.’ They’ll open up and it may take a long time to ask a simple question,” Catalde said. “May ask it a few times a few different ways and then but eventually you’ll get there.”
Law enforcement will get training on de-escalating situations and asking the right questions to find resolutions to problems, officials said.