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How To Help Those With Special Needs With The Unexpected

Lisa Lilianstrom, Staff Writer

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Whenever there is a situation like a school shooting, we should all know what we have to do, we all need to baracade the classroom, stay silent, and wait for the police to arrive. That’s what we should do, but what do we do when it comes to those with special needs?

People with disabilites of any kind may have a different reaction than those who don’t have disabilities.

As someone who has a disability I believe that we all need to be more educated on how to deal with those with special needs. I spoke with ECC police officer David Mintz about we can do as a community.

“These situations can be exteremely dangerous, I would encourage people to try and shelter in place, I would encourage people to try to leave as quickly as possible and that might present a problem when you are talking about someone with limited abilities and other obstacles, hopefully others around will help,” said Mintz.

After the Parkland shooting many students spoke about their experience and their trauma. There was one interview that stood out to me. A freshman named Holden Kasky who has Autism. His brother Cameron has made the news as being one of the main organizers for the March For Our Lives.

Cameron was picking up his brother when the shooting happened and a teacher told them both to get in the classroom.

Cameron and Holdens father is a law enforcement volunteer and an activist for educating first responders on how to deal with people with special needs, he mentioned that if law enforcement teams are unfamilar with how to deal with people with special needs in these situations it could lead to disaster.

Many people with developmental disabilites have different self soothing behaviors that may seem unusual to neurotypical people, and when a cop says “let me see your hands” and that persons behavior is something involving their hands then that could lead to police thinking that there is a threat.

What we can do to help both those with special needs and law enforcement is to educate them on what we can do. I personally like the idea of identifying bracelets, I see people sometimes wear them if they have medical conditions, so why not for disabilites, it can help the police know that the person has a disability and to take extra caution.

We should all know how to be safe in these kinds of situations, and we should also be more educated on how to help those who may need more help, I encourage all of you to help that one person in your classroom, learn a bit more about disabilites, get yourself familiar, because the more education we have the easier it will be to help those people.

About the Writer
Lisa Lilianstrom, Writer and Photographer
My name is Lisa Lilianstrom and I am getting my Associate in Arts degree with an intent to transfer and major in Journalism. Besides the Observer I am also the service officer in United Students of All Cultures (USAC), I am also an ally for the LGBTQ+ club Students Who Are Not Silent (S.W.A.N.S), I...
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How To Help Those With Special Needs With The Unexpected