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Premier First Responder Training

Partnership in Safety and Awareness 

The Autism Society of Florida provides autism training for police officers and other first responders with information and life saving techniques to assist in encounters between professionals and children and adults with autism.


Training includes recognizing the signs of ASD, handling behavioral challenges, de-escalation strategies, elopement issues, helpful resources and much more.


Contact the Autism Society of Florida and join the more than 12,000 law enforcement professionals who have received our Premier Autism First Responder Training.




Video produced for Autism Society of Florida by Zachary Hoaglund to highlight the importance of autism training for police officers and other first responders. Featuring Trainers, Executive Captain Martin Hedelund and Margi Hedelund. 

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Required Law Enforcement Training in Autism

In 2017, House Bill 39 created Florida Statute 943.1727 which required the creation of continued law enforcement employment training related to autism spectrum disorder. This training is part of the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission Specialized Training Program pursuant to Rule 11B-35.007, F.A.C. Courses in the Specialized Training Program are designed to enhance an officer’s knowledge, skills, and abilities in a specific area and may be credited toward an officer’s mandatory retraining, pursuant to Rule 11B-27.00212, F.A.C. 


  • Recognize the signs of autism spectrum disorder, typical behaviors of individuals on the spectrum, and best practices for how officers can respond when dealing with individuals on the autism spectrum

  • Understand how witnesses, family members, caregivers, service providers, and teachers can help an officer recognize and respond to a person who may have autism

  • Understand the many ways autism can negatively impact a person’s ability to successfully communicate, and learn about some of the technologies that can aid in communication

  • Recognize behavioral challenges often found in autism and develop techniques to effectively interact and communicate with them during high stress situations

  • Create strategies to de-escalate social, emotional or behavioral responses to a situation and understand when and how to act to prevent serious injury

  • Identify the common reasons for calls for service of people with autism and strategies you can use when responding

  • Identify the key factors surrounding wandering, elopement and affinity for water many children and adults exhibit and the reasons why

  • Become familiar with local resources available to assist you in supporting and protecting children and adults with autism.

  • List strategies for responding to a suspicious person call involving a person with ASD.

  • Understand some of the common outcomes to interactions with a person on the autism spectrum, including the typical steps of transport and processing that are sometimes required in such an outcome.


“This training is so very important. I have learned things to listen for and look for to identify autism. Thank you, Margi”

Pompano Parks & Recreation 

“The training was very interactive. I love the way Mrs. Hedelund was with the information. I think it would benefit the entire military to take this training. Finding out that all people with autism are not the same or have the same needs was very informative. I learned a lot about the differences inside the autism spectrum.”

Air Force Police Hurlburt Field

“The trainer was amazing, but the best part was that she brought her two sons with her, and allowed many of us to see a person with autism for the very first time”

Air Force Police Officer Hurlburt Field Air Station

“Not only did I learn things, but I gained a new perspective for people who have autism. I learned a lot and I hope it makes me better at doing my job.”

Pompano Beach Fire Rescue

“This is the second time I’ve had a Autism training from Mrs. Hedelund. It was great that she brought new information and shared more with us. I always enjoy that she brings her children. Being around them give us all a better understanding of an individual with Autism.  Her kids are great”

Bradenton Police Officer

“ I really enjoyed the Autism training today. Having a son who has autism, it was wonderful to see my fellow officers learn more about what it means to have autism. Margi did a great job, and I loved that she brought her kids with her to show the officers what autism looks like.”

Bradenton Police Officer

“This training was amazing. The presenter was excellent. It was so nice to have her family included - having her children here. It was very informative. I learned so much from watching them.”

Bradenton Police Officer

“My favorite part of the training was learning about what stimming is, and I think this is going to be very important”

Bradenton Police Officer

“I liked how incredibly informative this training was to those who have not experienced autism or someone who has been diagnosed with autism. An understanding of stimming is very important. This is my favorite part of what I learned during Margi’s training”

BSO Deputy

“My favorite part of the training was learning the different ways I can communicate with a person who has autism. I think I am better prepared should I encounter a person who communicates differently than most people.”

BSO Deputy

“The training was so amazing. What I liked the most was learning alternative ways to communicate. I like the app she showed us that we can download for free.”

BSO Lieutenant 

Tour de Force 4 Autism


#TourdeForce4Autism is an Autism Society of Florida event providing adults with autism the opportunity to tour a police station and learn about law enforcement. This program gives officers a better understanding of people with autism by having up close and personal interactions and receive first hand knowledge.

Contact us for more information


A huge win for everyone! 

Special thanks to Broward Sheriff's Office 

and Executive Captain Martin Hedelund

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