The 11th Trauma-Informed Care inspired SHOUT-OUT goes to Trisha Klausing and Becky Solomon!
Because of the vision of two FCS educators, sensory kits are now available for first responders when interacting with a person with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Findlay police and fire can now feel more confident when handling calls and assisting a person with a disability. Trisha and Becky raised enough money to create 60 kits, putting one in every patrol vehicle and Findlay fire truck!
These sensory boxes contain weighted socks for deep pressure, and fidgets for calming and to provide a distraction for the person in distress. There is a whiteboard and markers to facilitate communication. The visual communication chart can also help individuals who are nonverbal describe what is wrong. Noise-canceling headphones help reduce environmental stimuli.
Becky and Trisha provided training for the first responders, teaching them to recognize autism and tips on how to best communicate. Individuals with autism, for example, respond best to a slower rate of speech, simple language, and concrete terms. Questions should be simple, and may need to be repeated. Praise is also helpful. Police officers and firefighters are advised not to attempt to physically block behaviors like hand flapping or rocking, which could further agitate the individual.
According to research, accidents incurred while wandering is the No. 1 cause of death for individuals with autism. Additionally, 91% of children who drown in the United States are autistic.
We are fortunate to have such dedicated staff to reach out to these first responders!