Myrtle Beach offers autism training for city employees

The City of Myrtle Beach was designated an “Autism-Friendly” city in 2018.
Published: May. 17, 2022 at 6:25 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The City of Myrtle Beach announced that they’re partnering with the nonprofit Champion Autism Network to provide autism training to City Employees.

“We’re really excited about the growth and the acceptance of our people,” said Becky Large, the founder and Executive Director of Champion Autism Network.

The training is part of the “First in Service” commitment to support residents and visitors of all abilities.

“Everything that we did prior to the online modules was always live and on-site,” said Large. “But then Covid gave us this opportunity to take all that and make these online modules and with Covid, everybody learned how to learn virtually which has given us this amazing opportunity to, you know, spread and grow.”

The city employees are taking the training modules based on what department they work in. First responders are being taught how to answer to behaviors associated with autism, while other departments are learning ways to better assist individuals with autism and their families.

“They’ll have a little bit more awareness so if they see an episode or a tantrum they know better how to respond and reduce the judgment,” said Large.

Each module contains information about autism awareness and tools the employee can use based on the position they hold. The collective efforts from the City of Myrtle Beach and the local businesses and attractions help make Myrtle Beach an inclusive vacation destination and place to live.

“Get your CAN card, go online and see what business can support you or want to support you and, you know, let us know how we can help with questions. Reach out to us and we’re happy to help in any way we can.”

Champion Autism Network started in Surfside Beach. They launched an ambassadors program a few weeks ago called CAN in a Box and they are beginning to see their logo go nationwide as they look to spread autism acceptance.

“When we first started this it was a little bit scary because they were coming just because we said we were autism-friendly, but really with the support from the chamber and the business community and the City of Myrtle Beach and the town of Surfside Beach. It’s like a great big hug and people.”

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