Special needs customers get special attention in Clinton

Local News

Every day people come into contact with others who have special needs–but sometimes it can be hard tell.

The City of Clinton held a class this afternoon to help close this gap–and educate city workers on the proper way to interact with someone with special needs.

Pen in hand–eyes glued to the screen–Clinton city workers are learning the do’s and dont’s when they met someone with special needs. Special education director Chaffie Gibbs explains.

“What disabilities are what they look like, what are some key things you need to be aware of when dealing with children or adults who are autistic or disabled and how to respond to them in case of a crisis or emergency.”

First responders are often at the forefront of those emergencies–

“When you come into a situation that’s stressful especially an individual with disabilities it can either escalate or deescalate, and your response to them makes it a better situation or a worse situation.”

A number of firefighters, paramedics–and even the Clinton police chief were all taking part in this lesson.

“Our goal is to educate them about some little things they can do just when they are in that position just to deescalate the situation.”

Other city employees like Public Works Director Dexter Shelby also run into a person with special needs from time to time–although in a much different setting.

“Public works were fortunate enough to partner with the Wood Center and help them with their sweetheart formal, they come over there they get dressed up they get their makeup done things like that so public works do have a different relationship with the special needs community here in Clinton.”

But Shelby knows there is still plenty to learn moving forward.

“We just want to make sure that we handle everybody properly no matter what the situation is we want to make sure that we understand what’s going on that we don’t miss handle people that we treat everyone the same way to treat everyone else its just about inclusiveness making sure everybody understands that they do belong here in Clinton.”

This is the first ever special needs etiquette class hosted by the City of Clinton.

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