Sycamore Square Shopping Center
1220 Sycamore Square Drive, Midlothian, VA 23113
This fun, free, and educational community event is being hosted by the Autism Society Central VA to provide an opportunity for individuals with autism, and other intellectual and developmental disabilities, and their families to meet and interact with first responders in a positive and encouraging environment. According to the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission Autism Study (published June 2009, pg. 161-173), individuals with autism are seven times more likely to have a police encounter than their typical peers. Many individuals with autism also have a lack of safety awareness and a tendency for elopement or wandering, putting them at a greater risk of dangerous situations. From the news media and firsthand accounts, the ASCV has seen how some of the behaviors individuals with autism display can be misunderstood or misinterpreted by the police, other first responders, and the public, leading to altercations, injuries, arrests, incarceration, and even fatalities. First responders, including Chesterfield Fire, Sheriff, Police, and K-9 Alert Search and Rescue will be on hand at this event to meet and interact with those in attendance. They will also be offering activities that help educate community members about safety and how to respond in an emergency, including a “fire house” where families can practice what to do in the event of a fire. Families will also learn about Project Lifesaver, Child ID Kits, and Address Flagging in the Chesterfield County Database System. Other fun activities families can enjoy at this community connection fair include: inflatables, carnival games, crafts, face painting, door prizes, and a visit from Chester the Chic-fil-A Fire Cow.