1 in 68 children are diagnosed as having autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

(CDC, 2014)

This training program has been developed in order to assist first responders across Canada to train their teams about autism. This program includes basic information as well as strategies when intervening with an autistic person in an emergency situation.


The Program

This training program is part of the Autism-Inclusive Cities Project. In addition to the training tools for first responders, this website includes adapted educational material for Police and Fire Safety outreach programs. A Safety Kit is also available for people with autism, their families and educators. All these resources can be downloaded directly from this website.

The team

The city of Laval along with members of its Police and Fire Safety officials collaborated with the project’s team in order to develop these training tools. Several autistic people also contributed by sharing their ideas and suggestions in order to ameliorate the efficiency of the program. Thanks to their participation, the team was able to identify the specific training components to equip first responders with the tools and strategies to appropriately interact with people with autism in an emergency situation.

Giant Steps

Giant Steps School is a private school in the public interest in Montréal, Québec for students aged 4 to 21 diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Each student receives a complete, interdisciplinary, personalized program. The resource centre of Giant Steps School works to support professionals, teachers, families as well as the autism community across Québec.


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a lifelong neurological disorder characterized as having distinct difficulties in behaviour, social interaction, communication and processing sensory inputs.

Behaviour - Repetitive behaviours such as hand flapping, rocking, jumping, rearranging objects, as well as engaging in echolalia (the uncontrollable and immediate repetition of words spoken by another person) are common behaviours presented by persons with ASD. The term “stimming” is often used to describe these self-stimulating behaviours.

Communication - Individuals with ASD may have difficulty in communication depending on their development. While some persons with autism may have a rich vocabulary, others may be non-verbal. Generally, autistic individuals will have difficulty using language and understanding meaning in language.


This is Autism

In this video, we interviewed five individuals with autism to speak about how the condition affects their lives. Each individual describes the challenges and realities of living with an ASD and the many misconceptions of this neurological disorder.

Autism: Strategies for First Responders

This video outlines recommendations for first responders in order to better support and assist a person with an autism spectrum disorder when in an emergency situation, including recognizing behaviours and communication strategies.

Autism: A Roundtable

This video is structured by a panel discussion between a police officer, a firefighter, a person with autism, and a parent with a child with autism. Each provides their angle as well as their priorities and challenges when faced in an emergency situation.


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