Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Baby Guide 2018 | Home RSS

Autism Database to Help Law Enforcement

May 1, 2015
By FRED CONNORS - Senior Staff Writer , The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register

Jean Zerla's eyes watered Wednesday as she expressed gratitude for a program designed to protect children and adults with autism spectrum disorder.

Her comments came after an announcement by Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger, Fire Chief Larry Helms and Kathy Shapell, director of the Augusta Levy Learning Center in North Wheeling, regarding a new program designed to alert first responders that they may be dealing with an autism patient.

Zerla, of West Alexander, Pa., travels to Wheeling daily with her son, Noah, buckled into the rear seat of the car.

Article Photos

Photo by Fred Connors
Announcing a joint effort of the Wheeling police and fire departments and the Augusta Levy Learning Center on Wednesday are, from left, Augusta Levy Center Director Kathy Shapell, police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger and fire Chief Larry Helms.

"He is a 6-year-old who's mind works like he is 18 months old," she said. "If I became injured in an accident, he would not hesitate to unbuckle his seat belt and walk away. First responders would not be able to communicate with him because he only speaks to have his needs met. I am so thankful for this program."

Schwertfeger said the police and fire departments, the Ohio County 911 Center and the Augusta Levy Learning Center are partnering to develop a database containing the names and other identifying information about autism patients in the Ohio County area.

"We will be distributing check list forms for parents or guardians or children or adults who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders," he said. "The program is for all residents of the Wheeling-Ohio County emergency response area."



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web