Autism Society of Florida leads the way training Law enforcement and Fire Rescue! The Autism Society of Florida Executive Director Teresa Becerra’s son Robert Lee Becerra was honored on the US House floor by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen for his role in Law Enforcement & Fire Rescue Training for the past 11 years on behalf of the Autism Society of Florida.

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The Autism Society of Florida has conducted Law Enforcement Autism Trainings for the past 11 years. The instructors are Teresa and Robert Becerra. The trainings are conducted through Judge Steven Leifman’s Miami-Dade Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) Program. Ms. Habsi Kaba is the training coordinator and welcomed ASF to be part of these trainings.

In addition, through the Autism Society of Florida, for the past 2 years Teresa and Robert have branched out covering the entire State of Florida training Fire Rescue, EMT’s, Search & Rescue and 991 Operators on how to handle calls involving individuals with autism. To date over 6,000 officers and first responders have been trained.

Robert has participated in these trainings since he was 10 years old. His presence and hands-on involvement elevates the class to a level that leaves a life-long impact on officers and first responders who later report that it completely changed the way they respond and handle calls involving individuals with autism.

Through the years, as he has grown, so has the way he interacts with the class. Due to a shooting in North Miami (Aug. 2016), they have changed the way they teach and take elements of that confrontation to help officers have a better understanding and ultimately make better judgement calls when the call involves individuals in the autism spectrum. Their methods of teaching have changed by taking elements of that shooting and incorporating them into the training. This has resulted in a more comprehensive program leading to better understanding of individuals on the spectrum.

Robert is now 21 years old. He remains non-verbal and communicates through his iPad. His formal diagnoses are autism, epilepsy and encephalopathy. Typically, a more independent person with autism attends the class as well so that officers and first responders get a more accurate picture of the autism spectrum.

On July 12, 2017 Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen honored Robert Lee Becerra on the floor of the US House of Representatives in Washington D.C. for his 11 years of service to Law Enforcement and Fire Rescue in the State of Florida.

Robert has made such a positive difference in his community and the fact that she saw the importance and honored his contribution was exemplary..

Robert will receive an official recording of Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s presentation to the US House of Representatives, a congressional certificate, and a flag that has flown over the Capital in recognition of his efforts.

Feedback from a couple of the first responders who participated:

“In 17 years of this profession, this was the absolute most educating class I have ever taken! This should be required at all of the Fire/Police academy levels” – EMT Bradenton, FL.

“Extremely educational class and I learned a lot from watching Robert interact with us. The tools we learned today gave us a much better understanding of autistic behavior and will be very helpful out in the field. Thank you very much. Great practical exercises too” – Fire Rescue Bradenton, FL.