Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $100,000)
TAP is requesting $145,762.08 to implement training programs to reduce wandering and elopement incidents among individuals with autism and/or developmental disabilities. Through this project The Autism Project (TAP) aims to prevent wandering and elopement among individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and individuals with developmental disabilities (DD) living in Rhode Island.
TAP will provide training to first responders and law enforcement, educators, and the families and caregivers of individuals with ASD or DD, so they are better prepared to manage crises and dangerous situations stemming from wandering and elopement within these underserved populations. TAP serves the state of Rhode Island, but much of the work done through this project will focus on reaching Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) families and autistic people living in Rhode Island’s four core cities: Pawtucket, Providence, Central Falls, and Woonsocket.
TAP’s primary activities will be to develop (a) video trainings for first responders, educators, and families/caregivers, (b) in-person training for first responders and families/caregivers, (c) materials for first responders and families/caregivers, (d) and by introducing families and children with ASD to law enforcement and first responders. TAP will use the principles of family- and person-centered care that regards both perspectives as central to the framing of problem-solving and intervention planning. Family-centered planning facilitates the processes of naming and framing problems, sharing, and distributing expertise, and addressing needs in a manner that is both effective and supportive of family life.
Through this project, it is TAP’s goal to increase awareness for families, professionals, and community members through specialized education on ASD and DD and the associated dangers of wandering and elopement, with overall goals of saving time, money and ultimately lives. With increased information and training, first responders, family members, and childcare professionals will have the tools needed to more effectively communicate with individuals with ASD or DD, helping to prevent wandering and elopement and helping to better respond in a crisis situation.