GSP first responders undergo autism training - FOX Carolina 21

GSP first responders undergo autism training

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Melissa Shope with SC Autism Society gives training on autism to GSP first responders (FOX Carolina) Melissa Shope with SC Autism Society gives training on autism to GSP first responders (FOX Carolina)
The training will allow officers to better assist individuals who experience autism or have family members who have it (FOX Carolina) The training will allow officers to better assist individuals who experience autism or have family members who have it (FOX Carolina)
GREER, SC (FOX Carolina) -

The stresses of traveling can double when dealing with a special need like autism, researchers say. 

That's why police and firefighters at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport participated in the first of a six-session training to learn how to better serve travelers who have autism and their family members. 

"One in 68 individuals is affected," said Melissa Shope with the South Carolina Autism Society. "Autism is all around us." 

Shope led the training attended by GSP police and firefighters. 

She spoke with them about how to recognize signs of a special need like autism and the other disorders within the spectrum.

"The behaviors may be a lack of eye contact, they may be pacing, they may be flapping their hands," she said in her training. 

GSP spokeswoman Rosylin Weston said the training aims to equip first responders with an important, yet often overlooked skill. 

"We want to make sure that our officers and all of our first responders are prepared to deal with whomever they might encounter," said Weston. 

Weston said the six-session training will arm 50 first responders at GSP with more knowledge and awareness about autism. She added while TSA was not included in this training, if it is successful, the airport may include TSA in another training. 

GSP is the first airport in South Carolina to receive the training.

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