April 20, 2018
April is National Autism Awareness Month, and on April 2nd we kicked it off celebrating World Autism Awareness Day, bringing light to an important story featuring one of our beloved Culinary Arts High School students, Robert Becera, bringing to light the unique talents of those with autism, while putting a huge focus on the warm embrace and welcome that these skills deserve.
Miami native Robert L. Becera, 21, has non-verbal autism and communicates with the world through his iPad. His mother and father assist him with many of the activities of daily living. At Easterseals South Florida, Robert loves being part of the Culinary Arts High School Program, working in the kitchen where he thrives in a teamwork environment with his classmates and peers.
Outside of Easterseals, Robert has made a positive impact on thousands of lives in South Florida. He was recently honored on the US House floor by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen for his role in Law Enforcement & Fire Rescue Training for the past 11 years on behalf of the Autism Society of Florida, where his mother, Teresa Becerra, serves as Executive Director.
Over the years, he has helped train more than 9,500 Miami Police Officers, firefighters and EMTs to identify people with developmental issues and tailor their actions and responses accordingly. With Robert’s help, officers and first responders in South Florida are trained to de-escalate volatile emergency situations involving individuals on the autism spectrum or with mental illness. Robert’s assistance and emergency response training has not only helped officers to connect with special needs young adults on an emotional level, it has also had a positive impact by broadening first responders’ real-world perspectives, potentially saving lives in South Florida.