The Sirens of Silence program was created to bring awareness of and foster inclusivity to the growing population with special needs, especially individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The program consists of three components:
- A training module for first responders as well as informational materials, including a backgrounder with special needs indicators, practical advice, and de-escalation strategies as well as as a picture board and visual schedule. The picture board and visual schedule are also useful in communicating with stroke patients, trauma victims, and non-English speakers.
- Sensory-sensitive events (e.g., show-me events) tailored to individuals with special needs and their families (e.g., less stimulating environments with no/low lights, no/low sounds). The events allow for “exposure therapy” and interaction between families and first responders, so they may learn from each other about how to respond and provide care for patients with special needs.
- Safety-related items for families and first responders to have available on their rigs (e.g., sensory sensitive items, fidget toys, seatbelt covers, etc.).
The program was developed and vetted by parents, advocates, clinicians/therapists, educators, and physicians who work with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.