FDLE launches autism awareness training for 911 operators

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is launching a new course that will help 911 operators assist in the safe recovery of children with autism who go missing.

The FDLE’s Missing Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse’s new course outlines the steps dispatchers should use, including what questions to ask, when determining whether a reported missing child may have the signs of autism spectrum disorder.


“When working to find a missing child, ensuring investigators have timely and correct information is paramount,” said FDLE Enforcement and Investigative Support Bureau Special Agent in Charge Mike Phillips. “This important new training will equip telecommunicators with the skills and knowledge to discern when a missing child may have autism so that investigators can adjust their strategies accordingly and increase the chances of the child’s safe recovery.”

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According to a news release, children with autism are at a higher risk of drowning compared to other children and because of the risk, missing children who have autism may meet the criteria for an Enhanced Missing Child Alert through MEPIC.

The Enhanced Missing Child Alert targets a specific community within a pre-defined geographical radius with information about a missing child.

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The new training is available to all telecommunicators on FDLE’s Online Mandatory Training website.

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