Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by deficits in social interaction and social communication skills. High ASD prevalence rates have increased public concern about how persons diagnosed with the disorder will interact with others in their communities. Police officers routinely interact with people diagnosed with a variety of disabilities and mental illnesses. Current law enforcement training includes a broad focus on mental illness that may not be sufficient to prepare law enforcement officers to interact with persons diagnosed with ASD. The present study evaluated the effectiveness of a privately-owned ASD training program developed for law enforcement officers. A total of 195 police officers participated in this study during 3 separate training events at 2 police departments in Southern California. Results showed a significant increase in participants’ knowledge of core ASD symptoms in 4 out of 6 program training modules. In addition, participants reported gains in the following domains: perceived confidence in interacting with persons with ASD, perceived practicality of providing accommodations for people diagnosed with ASD, and perceived relevance to participants’ work as police officers. The implications of these findings are discussed and recommendations are made regarding future presentations of the training and future areas of research.
|Advisor:||Abouezzeddine, Tania, Eltiti, Stacy|
|Department:||Rosemead School of Psychology|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-B 79/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Disability studies, Law enforcement, Clinical psychology|
|Keywords:||Autism, Clinical Psychology, Disabilities, Law enforcement, Mental health, Training|
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