ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – In support of National Autism Awareness month, first responders in Oneida County are learning what they can do to prepare for a situation in which they encounter someone with autism.

“Well, it’s no different than interacting with anyone else – we want to have a positive outcome,” said Sgt. Curtis Morgan of the Oneida County Sheriff’s department. “So, knowing some signs and knowing some things that you’re dealing with will be a huge advantage.”

He continued, “Maybe the arm flapping or somebody that’s maybe using a high register of voice – in some cases you might see that as aggression, but if you know that that’s a sign of somebody just having an exciting moment that’s autistic, that’s going to change how you handle the next step of that interaction.”

With the help of Better Together, a parent support and vision group for loved ones on the spectrum, the Oneida County Sheriff’s department will be holding a free listening and learning event on April 30th. It is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend.

“We are inviting elected officials from across New York State – everyone from the governor to town supervisors to school officials to come out and to listen to the concerns of parents of things that we would like to see for valued outcomes for our individuals,” said Kathy Caruso, Lead Facilitator at Better Together.

“Laws and legislations and programming and funding – everything that directly affects those that we love with autism, no matter where on the spectrum they are, and no matter how old they are.”