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February 10, 2020

Alabama Autism Safety Initiative addresses the need for statewide safety measures:

Alabama Autism Safety Initiative addresses the need for statewide safety measures

Montgomery, Ala.—Disability as an Ability Toward Success: Moms on the Move, also known as D.A.T.S.M.O.M., a 501(c)(3) organization launches its innovative and historic Alabama Autism Safety Initiative. It’s a call-to-action awareness campaign that identifies the need for a strategic statewide autism safety plan and provides solutions. The initiative involves hands-on autism training, creation of community inclusion practices, programs and partnerships that result in systematic change within governmental, city and county jurisdictions, law enforcement, first responders, airportsecurity officials and traffic divisions.

D.A.T.S.M.O.M. Founder Tametria Conner Dantzler says this intiative exemplifes the organization’s mission to help parents and family members of children on the spectrum become effective advocates and strong voices on autism-related issues and services, or the lack thereof; as they shift their child’s disability into an ability.

“Children and adults on the spectrum are living, working and navigating through our communitites with no strategic and targeted autism safety plan and training, as they engage, encounter and interact with many leaders, community stakeholders, servicemen and servicewoman who pledge to protect and serve and protect them. Many have never encountered a person on the spectrum, so how can they effectively and effeciently serve them?” Dantzler said.

Unlike physical disabilities that you can see and even some developmental disabilities like Down’s Syndrome, people on the autism spectrum may appear normal and society expects them to respond in a typical fashion, be it in emergency or non-emergency situations. This initiative will help close the education and awareness gap that is evident in our society and local communities, thus rendering more positive individual and family outcomes for those living with autism, establish new and meaningful partnerships between our serviceman and servicewomen and foster community inclusion and integration. The goal is to not only provide autism training, but to help leaders and decision makers develop ways to
better serve the autism community.

“It’s up to us as parents to request and communicate the needs and goals for our children to those in decision-making positions, as we work toward progress for our children,” Dantzler said. There are four phases to this initiative: first responders autism safety training, Spectrum Sky airport training program, law enforcement autism safety training and city and county autism traffic signs. This initiative launched in Montgomery in February 2020 and will be on ongoing D.A.T.S.M.O.M. initiative for years to come that will be implemented across the state.

“This initiative will create a lot of much needed firsts that will have a ripple effect across the state.It will help to push municipalities and the state to take a hard look at how to either start serving the autism population or better serve and engage people on the spectrum. The goal is sustainable partnerships the lead to results in our communities.” Dantzler said. For more information about each component of the Alabama Autism Safety Initiative, please click the Alabama Autism Safety Initiative tab.