First responders issued calming kits
First responders will be better able to help youngsters with autism thanks to funds raised during a recent campaign.
During the month of April, Rachel’s Kids launched its first Autism Awareness Campaign called Let Your Blue Shine Through/Je brille pour l’autisme, chaired by a 13-year-old boy with autism.
Kalem Payment, who proudly promoted the campaign by selling #Letyourblueshinethrough merchandise and speaking at schools and businesses, was honoured when he was asked to sign Cornwall’s Book of Recognition.
“I am so proud of how much this campaign allowed Kalem to grow and become so passionate when speaking about his autism,” said Kim Lauzon, Rachel’s Kids Executive Director. “His ability to share his story in front of schools, adults, large groups and media about his autism in both French and English is certainly something to shine about! We could not have chosen a more suitable campaign chair and we love that he continues to advocate for Autism, in all that he does.”
Initially, the funds raised for this initiative were meant to be reinvested into additional specialized equipment for Rachel’s Kids House of Hope but something inspired the team to do something a little different, something the entire community can appreciate.
“Our team works with autism every day; we get it,” adds Ms. Lauzon, “It’s not something we recognize one day once a year, we are entrenched in everything autism entails everyday through our services. We choose April 2, World Autism Awareness Day, to celebrate all of our little locals who live with autism each and every day. We did it for them, which is why we thought we could help make their lives a little easier in time of crisis.”
All of the funds raised during the campaign has allowed Rachel’s Kids to create 30 “ASD Emergency Vehicle Calming Kits” for first responders in SD&G and surrounding areas.
The kits are filled with tools to better help and comfort a child with special needs in distress. First responders will have at their disposal noise cancelling headphones, time timer, weighted lap pad, PEC cards with universal images, fidgets and tactile objects, a massage roller, bubbles, a pinwheel and TED, the Rachel’s Kids Bear.
“It’s just another amazing tool our first responders can utilize to better help our community,” Lyle Warden, Deputy Mayor of South Glengarry who was the first to collect the kits for delivery to first responders in South Glengarry.
“Our goal is to create a “tool kit” to better address some of the over-stimulating factors caused by chaos from various elements such as noise, panic, mass media, crowding, anxiety, loss, sirens etc., one with ASD might experience allowing our first responders to offer more calming strategies and alleviate potentially heightened meltdown/anxieties. We are so thrilled investing these kits back into our community and simply knowing they provide an opportunity to help at lease one child in time of need, that makes all the difference in the world to us.”