We call for a change! Implementation of the EDS program to secure our loved ones’ safety

Change is inevitable. We cannot escape the changes that occur in our life because it is a part of our existence. Changes may either be positive or negative. When we are tired of doing something we welcome a new change. When we are upset, we wait for a change and hope we are experiencing just a temporary problem. But when we are happy, we may fear change could cause disappointments. It’s the way of life: whether we like it or not – change is bound to happen. Changes keep away boredom. It makes the journey interesting and adventurous. 


Changes are scary at first. Especially if we need to change some things that we are used to doing every day. Imagine changing all your routines, the habits you have, even some of your beliefs, just to somehow fit into the norms of the society. It might be confusing at times, the transitioning phase for the changes, but in the end, it will shape us into a better person. We will never know what is waiting at the other end, so we just have to embrace the changes and discover new possibilities. 


Imagine a person who used to smoke a lot and then suddenly quit? The struggles they experienced from withdrawals and addiction may have seemed like forever to them. Some are addicted to caffeine, so they feel anxious if they are deprived of coffee. For people working in law enforcement, introducing a different set of programs might be a big step; they may not be open to changes in their work environment because they have grown accustomed to certain procedures.  


Law enforcement must be open to some changes in their approach in critical situations that involve people with disabilities. There are changes necessary to enable them to help those with developmental disabilities. They are the first responders in critical situations, and we give our trust to them completely because we are hoping that they can solve the issue as peacefully as possible, especially if the person involved is one of our loved ones. 


The EDS program at 1st Choice Family Services can help our law enforcement handle critical situations with less violence. What we aim for is to secure a safe environment for the people we are in the business of protecting.  People with disabilities are often involved in critical situations that can be rectified peacefully if this program is implemented. One of our direct support professionals here at 1st Choice Family Services shared her own experience about the crisis they faced with her little brother who is diagnosed with autism. 



Courtney Weber said: 


“I think that the EDS program should be implemented for law enforcement because it is really important. I have a little brother who has been diagnosed with autism. I feel scared for his safety. I have witnessed an officer’s interaction with my brother. It agitated him and made my brother even more angry. 


If our EDS program had been implemented, then he would be able to read the signs that the person he is talking to cannot understand what he is saying or understand what’s going on around him. If they can observe these signs, let them calm down first before figuring things out, things can work out for the better. The EDS program is really important because as of now, some clients can be thrown in jail or in some mental facilities because law enforcement may not have handled the situation the best way. Those with disabilities should be handled with care and patience. 

My first job was working in dementia within an Alzheimer’s unit. And they can be aggressive. So I learned quickly. If someone is coming at you, don’t show fear because it will just encourage them. Stay as calm as you can. You have to show them that you are in control without looking scary – that way there is no intimidation. It will give them the idea that coming at them won’t change anything. Do not give them the reaction that they want, and if you do so, eventually they are just going to calm down and stop.” 


These habits will help law enforcement and are essential for the safety of all people, especially those with disabilities. It is sad to hear news reports that involve people with disabilities being handled incorrectly. Those situations can be avoided by using a different approach, by having a better understanding of people with disabilities and knowing the best ways to handle them in critical situations. The new approach is implementing the important techniques from our EDS program. These changes are important because it is the precursor to positive growth. We don’t grow by keeping things the way they are now.  


Mark Twain says: “I am an old man now, and have known many troubles, most of which never happened.” His point is that so much of what we fear in changing never materializes. We fear the uncertainty of change because it pushes us forward. If law enforcement is willing to learn and enforce the positive changes from our EDS Program, there will be positive outcomes.