'It's something that is misunderstood.' Autism database to help first responders launching in Maury County

Maury County Autism 911 form
Posted at 3:50 PM, Jul 20, 2022

COLUMBIA, Tenn. (WTVF) — A new tool will help first responders in Maury County know if they're heading to help someone with autism.

It's a survey for families in the community.

The creator, Fabian Oden, knows first-hand how much it is needed.

"We don't have enough information when we go on scene," said Fabian Oden, an experienced first responder.

From here on out, Oden hopes Maury County emergency workers feel differently.

This summer, the medical student created a survey for local families. They can fill it out if they have someone with autism in their household. Dispatchers will have access to answers and be able to send the form to first responders.

"Are they verbal? Nonverbal? What are their triggers? Are they interested in water? Are they attracted to water? That way we can send responders to the closest body of water if they end of up eloping," Oden said describing the form.

About one in 44 8-year-old children in Middle Tennessee has autism. The survey can be filled out about adults with autism too.

"It's something that is misunderstood, and it's a population that cannot advocate for themselves, so it feels good to be able to let first responders know this is how we can change our practice," Oden said.

The form goes live July 21 at 12 a.m.

For now, the program is only available in Maury County and Colbert County, Alabama.