Police forces join in Respite Programs to make training in autism a priority

Chesapeake, Virginia – Two police officers who make a difference for parents and their children with autism

With the numbers of children on the autism spectrum growing, so too is the number that run, bolt, wander and get lost or go missing. Police forces across the US are learning about autism to be of greater assistance. Respite services are designed to offer professional temporary relief to family members or other caregivers of children with autism. Some Virginia police officers have offered their services, off hours, to help out.

According to the Virginia Pilot:

About seven years ago, Sgt. Shannon Wichtendahl of the Virginia Beach police joined with the Autism Society of Tidewater to start Respite Nights in her city.

Blake Swenson, a Virginia Beach sheriff’s deputy, said he knew little about autism before he started volunteering two years ago. He said Respite Nights helped show him how to be patient with autistic children.

Autism Daily Newscast wanted to find out more about these officers for this story, but we were unsuccessful.  Autism Daily Newscast commends Sgt Wichtendahl, Deputy Swenson and all those officers who serve on and off duty to help the autistic community.

Source: Virginia Pilot Online