Senator McDonald Attends Autism Conference

Roy J. McDonald

March 01, 2009

Senator joins Supervisors Johnson & Daly to Provide Training for Emergency First Responders

Clifton Park – Senator Roy McDonald joined Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Art Johnson and Supervisor Anita Daly at a conference for Saratoga and Rensselaer County first responders on autism risk and safety management in Clifton Park today.

 “Our first responders are the everyday heroes of our communities, and we need to make certain that they receive the best quality training and education so that when the time comes they can perform to the best of their abilities” said McDonald.

More than fifty first responders attended the conference to hear from nationally known speaker Dennis Debbaudt. Mr. Debbaudt, the father of an autistic son himself, wrote one of the first books on autism risk management and since then has conducted training sessions for the Department of Homeland Security and the F.B.I. in addition to a multitude of local police and fire squads across the country.

 “Special people need special love, and when special people are in an emergency situation they need special attention” McDonald continued, “this is the first of many training and education sessions we will hold on this issue.”

Chairman Johnson of Wilton stressed the important role our first responders play in our upstate communities and explained the responsibility elected representatives have to provide proper training and education to these individuals.

"Saratoga County takes great pride in the quality of public safety our residents receive and we are privileged to have such high quality first responders in the area - both paid and volunteer.” The Chairman continued, “It is our responsibility to help ensure that these responders' skills are honed so that all of our residents and visitors can have access to the same level of high quality care. This conference is one important step in helping us fulfill that responsibility.”

Supervisor Daly representing Clifton Park was instrumental in arranging the conference and getting Mr. Debbaudt to speak.  As the Chairperson of the Saratoga County Council on Autism she is at the forefront of dealing with this issue within Saratoga County.

"The goal of the Saratoga County Council on Autism is to proactively work to increase awareness of Autism and the unique needs faced by the persons and families affected by it. I am so pleased that we are able to help present this opportunity for families, caregivers and local first responders to learn from such a highly-qualified trainer as Dennis Debbaudt ” Daly then reflected, “I hope these attendees will walk away better equipped to respond to emergency situations involving not only those affected with Autism, but any developmental disability."

The number of reported cases of autism spectrum disorders has increased at an alarming rate within the last decade.  The disability affects individuals at different levels of severity and for now, is something that will stay with them for life.

 “This is a very important issue, I am proud to partner with the Board of Supervisors and the Saratoga County Council on Autism to provide this opportunity to families and first responders in both Saratoga and Rensselaer Counties” Said McDonald.