Ali RosenApr 18, 2018, 9:34 pm

First responders raise awareness about autism

Law enforcement works to remove fears that special needs children have

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NEW ROCHELLE -- The New Rochelle Police Department hosted an event to raise awareness for autism as well as give students an inside look into their everyday lives at Ward Elementary School on Wednesday. The goal of the event was spread awareness about autism, as well as help combat the fear that many children with special needs have about law enforcement.

“A lot of children with autism and special needs have an inherent fear of people in uniform. So, this is the second year in a row we've had first responders, and the students got a chance to interact, not only with special education children, but also the kids in mainstream classes got to interact together for one common goal,” New Rochelle Police Officer and President PBA Christopher Greco said.

Greco said he created this event for his son Christopher, who severally has autism, as well as to let Westchester County know that law enforcement is there for people with special needs.

“I put this together in honor of my son, Christopher, and for our communities across Westchester and beyond to let them know that the first responders in our community and the communities throughout Westchester are aware of autism and the needs for training within these agencies and with special education children and their families,” Greco said.

Students asked the first responders several questions during the event to get a better understanding of how law enforcement operates.

Both the first responders and the children in attendance enjoyed the event.

“Oh, [this event] is nothing but high fives and … they're awesome. They're little troopers, and they welcomed us and it’s nice to see them cheering us when we pulled up with the lights on,” New Rochelle Police Detective Tom Raptis said.

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