First re­spon­ders is­sued calm­ing kits

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page -

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.”

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