FINDLAY, Ohio — The Findlay police and fire departments are now better equipped to handle calls involving individuals with autism.
Two Findlay City School educators, Becky Solomon and Trisha Klausing got together last year to get these sensory kits put inside of Findlay police vehicles.
Solomon saw a similar program in Cincinnati that helps officers deal with calls involving people with autism and she knew it could be useful in the Flag City as well.
After choosing the items, each kit ended up costing only $35 apiece, so the duo took their initiative to social media.
"We put on Facebook that we were starting this project, and we invited people to sponsor a box either in honor of someone or just for their family or business," Solomon said.
Enough money was raised to put together 60 kits, which puts one in every patrol vehicle and Findlay fire truck.
Weighted socks for deep pressure therapy, fidgets to play with, along with a whiteboard and communication boards for those who may be non-verbal.
Klausing said programs like this just makes sense, especially amid the ongoing national conversations about police response in our communities.
"So we trained them on, 'Yes, they are more prone to wandering. Yes, they may have communication difficulties.' So, we're hopeful that this kit may help them or give them those tools needed to respond to someone with autism or sensory processing disorder," Klausing said.
Currently, Findlay police and fire personnel are still going through a short training process on how to properly utilize all of the equipment in these kits.
The hope is, should the initiative prove successful, that similar sensory kits will start popping up in other northwest Ohio communities.