Autism Awareness

Law Enforcement Officers improve skills to help people with Autism Spectrum Disorder

The Scott Center for Autism Treatment on the campus of the Florida Institute of Technology provides this autism awareness training for law enforcement officers to help officers learn how to recognize and respond to people with ASD.

The Scott Center for Autism Treatment is a non-profit organization dedicated to a three-fold mission of clinical service, research and training. Parents and children, as well as academics and researchers from around the world come to the Scott Center for the most advanced, science-basedautism treatment and training methods available anywhere in the world.

On a daily basis law enforcement officers encounter a multitude of individuals in emergency situations. And with the reported prevalence of autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, now at nearly 1 in 59 people, there is a very high likelihood that you will encounter someone with ASD at some point. The goal of this course is to reduce the possibility of misunderstanding or escalation when real situations arise.

In this course, experts from the Scott Center will explain how to recognize common behaviors exhibited by individuals with ASD. They’ll also provide principles and suggestions for successfully communicating with someone with ASD, and how to manage risk during an interaction with someone from this segment of our population.

Individuals with autism are commonly the victims of criminal activities, may wander from home, or be mistaken as someone acting strangely in the community. It is critical for first responders to be trained to interact with the ASD population in order to achieve the best outcome for everyone involved.

As law enforcement officers, we are trained to respond to situations with certain protocols, but these approaches may not always be the best way to interact with individuals with autism. We need to have a working knowledge of autism, and the variety of behaviors, individuals with ASD can exhibit in emergency situations...situations that can all too often be mistaken or interpreted as resistant or non-compliant.

The techniques you will learn in this course are based on the science of Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA. ABA is considered by the US Surgeon General as a “best practicefor interacting with people with autism. The Scott Center is recognized as an international center of excellence for their Applied Behavior Analysis programs and research. 

Participants in this course will gain knowledge and awareness in various aspects of Applied Behavior Analysis to include:

The definition and basics of autism spectrum disorder as a condition
How to recognize a person who may have autism spectrum disorder, or ASD
The best approaches for responding to individuals who may have ASD and 
How to best manage risk in situations involving individuals who may have autism


As law enforcement officers, you will almost certainly encounter someone with autism during the course of your career. By utilizing the information and techniques that you’ll learn in this course, you can reduce the possibility of misunderstanding or unnecessary escalation,while improving the chances for a safe outcome for everyone involved. 

Remember...it takes a community to protect a community and by working together we can make a difference!!



Dr. Michael  Kelley
Dr. Michael Kelley
Executive Director of the Scott Center for Autism Treatment

About the instructor

Dr. Kelley's research interests include symptoms of autism, translational research, assessment and intervention of severe problem behavior, and pediatric feeding disorders.


Dr. Kelley currently serves on the Board of Editors for The Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and The Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. He is also a current member of the Board of Directors for the Society of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. Dr. Kelley was the 2010 recipient of the American Psychological Association’s Division 25 B. F. Skinner New Researcher Award, and served as an Associate Editor of The Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis from 2009-2012.

What's included?

16 Videos
4 Quizzes
1 Survey
1 Download


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