June 8, 2010

State of Alabama
Press Release: Mental Health, Department of


MONTGOMERY – In the 1970s and 80s, only three to four children out of every 10,000 had autism. The 2009 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that one in every 110 children and one in every 70 boys now has an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. In the midst of the rise of autism throughout the state and nation, efforts focused on educating the public and specific parties about autism are increasing.

ADMH is partnering with several organizations to host a First Responders & Autism Training Symposium that will run June 16-18 in Montgomery. This training will better equip first responders in recognizing behavioral response techniques to increase safety for all. The training will be held at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Spa and admission is free for all attendees.

The training will be presented by Dennis Debbaudt, an internationally recognized expert, author and parent of a child with autism. Two tracks are being offered on Wednesday and Thursday, with an open session for all attendees on Friday. The first track, offered on Wednesday, will be for Law Enforcement, Fire Service and Social Workers. The second track, offered on Thursday, will be for emergency medical service workers and nursing professionals. The open session of Friday will target the autism community, educators and all interested parties. First Responder Tip Sheets for use with individuals with all types of disabilities, including autism, will also be distributed during the conference.

Professional CEUs are approved for each track and the optional Friday session. On-line preregistration is required for this event and can be completed by visiting http://www.adph.org/Extranet/Forms/Form.asp?formID=2400. In addition to ADMH, other sponsors for the event are the Alabama Department of Public Health, Alabama Council on Developmental Disabilities, the Alabama Interagency Autism Coordinating Council and the Autism Society of Alabama. For additional information or questions about the training, please contact Dr. Caroline Gomez, state autism coordinator at ADMH, at 334-353-7197.


  • For more information, visit http://mh.alabama.gov
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