Fundamental Therapy donates sensory kits to local police stations

Published: Feb. 16, 2022 at 6:32 PM CST
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ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - Madill and Ardmore police departments recently received sensory kits filled with tools to help when officers need to communicate with someone with autism.

Madison Hatfield with Fundamental Therapy said when first responders come to a home, it can be stressful for anyone, not just people with autism.

“The lights and sirens, they’re loud, they’re bright,” Hatfield said. “That’s scary, that’s overstimulating.”

It can be especially hard for kids with autism to tell officers what’s going on, but Donny Raley with Madill Police said that’s crucial.

“Anytime you’re having an emergency, we want to be able to get as much information from the victim as we can,” Raley said. “And if this helps us do that then we welcome it.”

Raley said MPD has responded to situations before where a victim wasn’t able to hear or speak to officers. So something like cards labeling emotions and nouns can be useful

“That would be very helpful for law enforcement who is having to try and communicate with someone who is nonverbal or having trouble speaking,” Hatfield said.

The kit also includes things to make someone with sensory issues more comfortable- like wipes, sunglasses,noise canceling headphones, fidget toys, and a weighted blanket.

“Anytime a victim feels secure in their surroundings, then it makes them relax to the point that they can give us more information,” Raley said.

Fundamental Therapy owner April Bryant said some tools may work better for different people.

“Sometimes you have to try multiple different tools to see which one is the best fit,” Bryant said. “We might think that a blanket would be the best fit, but it’s not and they like something different.”

Hatfield said patience is important too.

“It can also take them extra time to process what you’re saying in a situation,” Hatfield said.

Bryant said she’s working to get more sensory kits for the police departments in Kingston, Lone Grove, and Dickson.

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