Through the collaboration efforts of professional first responders, autism experts, and pediatric therapy providers, The ISAAC Foundation has developed the Autism in the Wild: Community-Based First Responder Program that is a multi-faceted program that strives to do more than simply identify the inherent challenges first responders face when interacting with members of our community touched by autism and other special needs. Its objectives are to provide training for first responders on effective interaction techniques with individuals touched by autism, to provide parents with tangible solutions to 911 emergencies, and to help individuals with autism develop interaction skills, that when learned in advance of a 911 encounter, help to improve the quality of care and elicits positive outcomes between first responders and individuals touched by autism.
The First Responders Training Program is for fire, law enforcement and EMT/paramedics that focuses on the following objectives:
• Assist First Responders in understanding Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and learn how to recognize ASD characteristics.• Give First Responders tools that will help them communicate and interact with individuals with ASD in an emergency situation• Provide coaching on how to reduce or eliminate dangerous behaviors that could lead to harm to the responder or individual with ASD.• Instruct First Responders (Fire/EMS) about how to best restrain an individual with ASD, if necessary.Topics covered in training:• Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders and different classifications and severities.• Discussion of frequently used terms regarding Autism Spectrum Disorders.• Introduction to the sensory system and integration of these bodily systems.• Discussion of sensory integration dysfunctions.• Overview of sensory challenges for individuals with ASD.• Discussion of the various forms of communication and challenges individuals with ASD face when communicating. • Overview of various ASD characteristics.• Use and implementation of weighted blankets as a tool for first responders.• Overview of encounter strategies for both medical and fire scenarios.• Missing child considerations.• Use of ISAAC Alert information and Emergency Medical Information Form.• Instruction on effectively using verbal instructions with individuals with ASD.• Visual instruction on use of escorting strategies and therapeutic holds.Additional training opportunities available to municipalities:• Use of ISAAC Alert: 911 dispatch address registration system (caution note).• Training on municipality facilitated special needs station visits.• Implementation and use of weighted blankets in emergency 911 scenarios
The Autism in the Wild First Responders Training program can be implemented via server ready training video or by in-person training on site.
Contact Holly Bahme-Lytle for onsite training rate schedule.
AIW Trailer from The ISAAC Foundation on Vimeo.
Autism in the Wild: First Responder (Fire/EMS) Training Video from The ISAAC Foundation on Vimeo.
Isaac was born to his parents, Reed and Holly Lytle, on March 28, 2003. He was named after his two grandfathers, Isaac “Lynn” Bahme and Dennis Lytle. He was a happy baby who brought immense joy to his parents and older brother Jared. At approximately 15 months of age, Isaac began becoming withdrawn, stopped responding to sound and began exhibiting symptoms of anxiety. His parents immediately sought help and were told that Isaac exhibited “red flags” for autism. Isaac immediately began receiving intensive early intervention therapies such as speech, occupational and DIR/Floortime therapies. At approximately 18 months old, Isaac received his official diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), under the umbrella of autism spectrum disorders.
The months and years following Isaac’s diagnosis was a mixture of joyous progress and frustrating setbacks. Isaac’s parents quickly discovered that not all health insurance plans provided therapy intervention benefits to children diagnosed with autism. Because of insurance limitations for Isaac’s therapy needs, Isaac’s mother began working from home and paid therapists to teach her the therapy techniques needed to help Isaac fight autism. After months of hard work and hours of home therapy with his parents, Isaac began to improve. He began making eye contact, started to enjoy school and interact with classmates, siblings and cousins and most importantly he began to speak.
Not realizing that their time with Isaac would tragically be cut short, Isaac’s parents kissed their beautiful, bright eyed boy goodnight and in the wee hours of the morning on February 8, 2007, Isaac quietly passed away in his sleep from an undetected genetic heart defect, not related to autism. Isaac was just a few weeks from celebrating his fourth birthday.
Looking back, Isaac’s parents prefer to remember all of the good times they shared with him. His family fondly remembers Isaac’s passion for music. His favorite songs were by the Wiggles. Isaac had the pleasure of seeing the Wiggles in concert here in Spokane TWICE!!! He also enjoyed almost every song performed by Johnny Cash but was particularly fond of “Ring of Fire” and would often sing along.
His favorite movie was “Finding Nemo” but would hide in his room during the opening scene of the movie (when Nemo’s mother Coral is attacked by the Barracuda Fish). He just couldn’t watch the loss of Nemo’s mother. Isaac was also a huge fan of Mickey Mouse and had a stuffed Mickey that he would give lots and lots of hugs. Isaac also left behind an extensive car and train collection which his parents cherish to this day.
As with all children, Isaac loved his junk food. His particular favorites were popcorn, any kind of soda, milkshakes and ice cream of any flavor, popsicles, pizza and any candy he could get his hands on. His most favorite food of all time was McDonald’s French Fries. Isaac’s parents laugh as they remember his instinctual knowledge of every McDonald’s location in Spokane – and he paid close attention anytime he was in the car! If you passed a McDonald’s without stopping for french fries, he would yell in protest from the back seat.
The ISAAC Foundation is a tribute and lasting legacy to Isaac Lytle. It’s continued work will help to improve the lives of children in our community touched by autism for a lifetime.