Michigan Mom, EMT Puts Sensory Kits in Ambulances – The Good News
Leave it to an autism mom to get the job done, right?
Amber Horton is a paramedic with Pro Med in Muskegon, and her son Max is on the autism spectrum. She's had her own experiences with emergencies, at home, and on the job - when her son fell and injured himself, he was overwhelmed by the medical attention he needed to receive.
"It was difficult for me to see how easily they can be overlooked, his symptoms be overlooked," Horton told West Michigan's WZZM-13, "and how we don’t know how to talk to them. We’re used to a typical way to approach a scene, lights and sirens, fire department, us, police. It’s extremely overwhelming."
So, she decided to act: she put together sensory kits that will be kept in ambulances.
The kits include weighted blankets and noise-canceling headphones. They also include "What Hurts" boards, which will allow kids on the spectrum who are non-verbal to communicate about their pain to the first responders. The kits even include fidget toys to take their mind off the situation at hand.
Her team of paramedics is training with the kits right now, and they hope to have them ready to roll out this Friday. Her goal is to provide additional training to firefighters and have a sensory-friendly room in the ER.
As an autism mom, I absolutely LOVE this. We had to do this for our son when he was in preschool; he wasn't non-verbal, but he had a hard time communicating his feelings. His teachers made him a picture book where he could point out what he was thinking and feeling and it was WONDERFUL. Great job, Amber!