Neumann to host autism resource fair and police training

Published on: February 24, 2024

Neumann to host autism resource fair and police training

Neumann is hosting a free neurodiversity and autism resource fair, including training for local law enforcement, on Saturday, March 16, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Bruder Life Center.

Attendees will learn about the support available from different organizations that work with and for neurodiverse individuals and their families. Community partners with resource tables at the event include Belmont Behavioral Hospital, the Boy Scouts Special Needs Camporee, Delaware County Intermediate Unit, and the Neurodiversity Success Center at Hill Top Prep.

Speakers will address a variety of topics such as the latest findings by the Center for Autism Research at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, driving as a neurodiverse individual, special education and IEP support, channeling neurodiversity, assistive technology, and a state and local police decal program to identify cars and homes with neurodiverse individuals.

The resource fair is a family-friendly event that features sensory crafts, a free movement class by My Gym, and state trooper vehicles to explore.

A special track during the event will provide training for law enforcement officers and first responders in recognizing and interacting with neurodiverse individuals.

Dr. Jenelle Abnett, an assistant professor of education who organized the event, will present a program titled Neurodiversity and Safe Encounters. Corporal Reginald Easterling of the Pennsylvania State Police will address Proper Use of Force Techniques.

In an April 2023 report by ABC News, autism advocate Areva Martin explained the complications of interactions between individuals on the spectrum and law enforcement. "Many individuals with autism don't respond immediately to commands. Many don't necessarily understand some of the complicated commands that may be given by law enforcement agencies. So that may be seen as a form of noncompliance.”

The report noted that only eight states offer police training for interacting with autistic individuals.

The latest research in 2023 from the CDC shows that one in 36 children is now diagnosed with autism. This is an increase from one in 44 children in 2021. 

Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer and Dr. Chris Domes will welcome participants during the March 16 opening ceremony.

The resource fair is sponsored by the Pennsylvania State Police, the Center for Autism Research at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and Neumann University’s Center for Leadership.

Registration is required at





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