Running from October 2020 to September 2022, the Educating first Responders on how to Recognise and Treat autistic people project (ALERRT: Autism on the Line!) aimed to provide knowledge and skills to first responders across Europe on how to recognise, interact, and appropriately deal with autistic people in cases of emergency. This project was funded by the European Commission’s Erasmus+ Programme.
For people on the autism spectrum, learning how to interact with first responders is critical. It is, also, just as essential for first responders (police officers, firefighters and medical emergency/ambulance workers) to understand autism, and be prepared to respond effectively and safely to situations involving autistic people.
First responders are seven times more likely to come in contact with an autistic person, but evidence shows that they are not adequately trained to recognise and respond to them in appropriate ways. These facts show how important it is for first responders to have sufficient understanding of autism, how it may present in a person, and how to best handle incidents involving such a person.
The ALERRT project promoted autism awareness among first responders and the development of mutual trust between autistic people and their families, and first responders.
In the framework of the project, a VET trainer curriculum and manual for first responders was developed together with virtual reality training scenarios. Additionally, project partners worked together to create a Safety Kit for autistic individuals and their families, and consolidate the developed learning materials on an e-learning platform.
To implement the project, an international partnership of six partners from six different countries was created. The project coordinator, GESEME (Spain), worked closely with CEIPES – International Centre for the Promotion of Education and Development (Italy), Universidade Lusófona (Portugal), STANDO LTD (Cyprus), European Development Agency – EUDA (Czech Republic), and Autism-Europe (Belgium).
About the Erasmus+ Programme
Erasmus+ is the EU’s programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe. Its budget of €14.7 billion will provide opportunities for over 4 million Europeans to study, train, gain experience, and volunteer abroad.