Each shift at the Mobile Police Department is now better equipped with both the tools and knowledge of how to respond to individuals with special needs, especially those with a sensory processing disorder. Through a recent fundraiser, officers raised enough money to make Autism Sensory Kits.
Although police are trained to handle a multitude of challenging situations, it's important that they quickly recognize the signs of autism and know effective ways to approach a person on the autism spectrum or any person with special needs. With the proper response, the officer can stabilize the scene sooner and provide the safety needed.
“If these kits can be used to help ease some of the overwhelming stimulation someone with special needs may be feeling so that we may better assist them, then that is a win,” said Officer Alisha Davis-Sonnier, who is spearheading the autism awareness project at the Mobile Police Department.
The Autism Sensory Kit includes a 5-pound weighted blanket that the officer can use to provide comfort to the individual, noise-cancellation earmuffs for keeping them calm, and visual supports for those who have difficulty processing spoken information. Fidget devices and polarized sunglasses for those sensitive to light are some of the other items contained in the kit.
“We, as a department, are striving and should always strive for different, new improved ways to serve our citizens,” Officer Davis-Sonnier said. “This is how we grow and how we can continue to show our love to the community.”
Each shift at all five police precincts has an Autism Sensory Kit, which includes the following items: