Embracing Abilities, Expanding Possibilities Episode 2: Training First Responders to Understand Autism
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Emergency personnel are likely to have encounters with individuals with disabilities and those on the autism spectrum. For example, some law enforcement data have suggested that people with disabilities are seven times more likely to have police encounters than the general population. In this episode, you'll hear from Shannon Wess, an Autism Specialist with the Illinois Autism Partnership, about our First Responder Trainings for local police, fire, and ENT departments, as well as public service agencies. Each training focuses on strategies that emergency personnel can use to support and help individuals with autism in emergency situations. They are provided at no cost to the departments involved.
Carter Sanders is a person who approaches everything with intention, dedication, and preparation. He is on the autism spectrum and is a graduate of Easterseals Academy, an alternative school placement for students with ASD, emotional disability, developmental delay, or intellectual disability. Carter is currently an Easterseals employee, as well as a Special Olympian and energy ambassador. In this episode, Carter joins Sara Ray Stoelinga, President & CEO of Easterseals Serving Chicagoland and Greater Rockford (ESCGR) as well as Jason Reis, former ESCGR Employment Services Coordinator, and shares his journey.
When Sara Ray Stoelinga became the new President & CEO of Easterseals Serving Chicagoland and Greater Rockford in May 2019, the organization was in financial and organizational crisis. They were more than $22 million in debt with an additional several million dollars in unpaid bills and were barely making payroll. The direction and sustainability of the agency were uncertain. This podcast delves into how Stoelinga — together with the Board of Directors, strong new senior leaders, and essential external partners — righted the ship at the non-profit and the lessons learned along the way on the journey from organizational peril to a future of growth and prosperity.