Training helps law enforcement overcome challenges of searching for people with autism

NORTH WATERBORO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Matt Brown is an Autism Information Specialist who has been helping law enforcement for years overcome the challenges of searching for missing people with autism.

He has conducted more than 200 training sessions for law enforcement, including one for every incoming cadet class at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy the past few years. He says its no surprise the search for 15-year old Jaden Dremsa has been focused on and around Lake Arrowhead. Dremsa has Asperger's Syndrome, a mild form of autism. People with all forms of autism are attracted to water sources. Brown says they can be so focused on a specific thing or place, they tend to be unaware or their surroundings, even if a helicopter is hovering overhead.

What's baffling about this case is searchers have scoured the nearby lake extensively and have looked in the favorite places the 15-year old liked to hike and walk.

With the number of cases of autism being diagnosed on the rise, the information he provides is becoming more valuable.

"So they're going to be interacting with individuals with autism on a more regular basis, we're seeing that here in Maine just recently. So these cases are going to become more frequent, not less frequent", Brown said.

Brown urges all parents to register children with autism with their local police department. The information you provide can be critical to successful outcomes, especially in the early stages of a search. Some departments provide the form right on line. The Maine Department of Public Safety is planning to do that statewide soon.


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