Dysart Leads Autism Awareness Efforts in St. Bernard Parish

On April 25, 2022, the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office (SBSO) announced the launch of the “Help Me Home” program in partnership with the St. Bernard Autism Awareness Krewe. The initiative is a voluntary enrollment program for adults, parents, and/or caregivers of individuals to provide advanced, critical information to first responders when searching for, responding to, or interacting with those who face mental or physical challenges. Fishman Haygood Partner Danny Dysart, who is also an assistant district attorney and felony trial prosecutor in St. Bernard Parish, serves as president of the St. Bernard Autism Awareness Krewe. Read more about the program here or watch the press conference announcement.

The mission of the St. Bernard Autism Awareness Krewe is to identify and assist with the needs of St. Bernard families dealing with the daily struggle of caring for children, grandchildren, and other family members with autism and other related conditions. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates, currently 1 in 44 8-year-old children will be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

In addition to its collaboration with SBSO, the St. Bernard Autism Awareness Krewe started a program to provide area schools and first responders with free sensory bags to improve interactions and help deescalate situations with individuals who experience sensory issues. Under Dysart’s leadership and in coordination with the local school district, the group also co-founded and sponsors the “Krewe St. Bernard Summer Camp,” which affords children with intellectual and/or physical disabilities the opportunity to attend a traditional summer camp experience.

The group provides monthly free parent training sessions on issues such as speech and language, occupational therapy, professional development, and other related topics for families.

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