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Free webinar provides guidance on working with children with special needs

DANVILLE, Pa. – Geisinger’s Autism & Developmental Medicine Institute (ADMI) is offering free online training for first responders to help them better assist children with special needs during emergencies. The training is also open to other community members.

Up to 15% of children have a developmental or behavioral disorder, including autism, speech and language disorders, intellectual disabilities, or conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and anxiety. The training program provides an overview of these conditions, their related behaviors, and strategies for communicating with children who have these disorders in a variety of situations.

The training is facilitated by Barbara Haas Givler, director of education and behavioral outreach at Geisinger’s ADMI, and Cora Taylor, ADMI assistant professor.

“This training for first responders provides practical strategies for approaching and supporting children with special needs in emergency situations,” Haas Givler said. “We appreciate all that first responders do for our patients with special needs, including autism, and we’re thrilled to be able to give something back to them.”

Interested community members can view the webinar at The training was funded in part by the Rite Aid Foundation. 

ADMI has also created materials to help children with special needs and their families understand what to do in an emergency. For more information, visit

About Geisinger
Geisinger is among the nation’s leading providers of value-based care, serving 1.2 million people in urban and rural communities across Pennsylvania. Founded in 1915 by philanthropist Abigail Geisinger, the non-profit system generates $10 billion in annual revenues across 134 care sites - including 10 hospital campuses, and Geisinger Health Plan, with 600,000 members in commercial and government plans. The Geisinger College of Health Sciences educates more than 5,000 medical professionals annually and conducts more than 1,400 clinical research studies. With 26,000 employees, including 1,600 employed physicians, Geisinger is among Pennsylvania’s largest employers with an estimated economic impact of $14 billion to the state’s economy. On March 31, 2024, Geisinger became the first member of Risant Health, a new nonprofit charitable organization created to expand and accelerate value-based care across the country.  Learn more at or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and X.

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Ashley Andyshak Hayes
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