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First responders learn about dealing with persons with autism

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Autism is a neurological disorder that impacts one's social interactions. On Long Island, officials are taking some serious steps to make sure first responders know how to identify it and help those with it. A free seminar in Nassau County covered how first responders deal with adults and children who have it.

"It's very important our first responders know what they're dealing with when they're out in the community dealing with crisis," said Diane Cahill, the president of the autism coalition of long island. She said that 1 in 50 school-aged children is diagnosed with autism -- and the number is growing. Cahill said the training class became top priority after the recent high-profile missing child case of Avonte Oquendo, the 14-year-old queens boy with autism. He has not been seen for weeks.

Suffolk police academy officer Ray Sitler knows about autism firsthand. His 14-year-old son Eric has it. He said here are some simple tips for first responders to look out for: does a car have bumper stickers or window stickers or an autism group license plate? Does the front door of a home have an autism-themed sticker?

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