Local fire department uses stickers to help children with autism

Sherwood fire dept. raising autism awareness

SHERWOOD, Ark. (KTHV) -- A simple sticker could help keep kids with autism safe in difficult situations. 

The Sherwood Fire Department is hoping these stickers create better relationships with families and first responders.  On Thursday, the SFD  gave these stickers to the only autistic classroom in Sherwood.

Their goal: awareness.

“They communicate with pictures, words, computers," said the instruction of the autism classroom.  "They don't understand as much verbally as they do visually."

Battalion Chief John Sawyer with the SFD is on a mission, however.

"An autistic person looks like just me and you, there's nothing different with them.  The only thing that is different a majority of time is their behavior.  They don't react the same as me and you when giving commands," said Sawyer.

Sawyer wants people to understand that when there is an emergency and a child with autism is involved, the situation needs to be handled with extra care.

"We need to slow down in what we're doing; speak clearly, speak in shorter sentences, be clear with our commands on what we want to do, and be more understanding."

In the case of a fire, for example, a child with autism could be overstimulated by the smell of smoke or the sound of an alarm going off.

"It's just a wonderful feeling that you know that you've gone a step further and that you've made a traumatic time go a lot smoother."              

The stickers should be placed on the passenger side window of a car or on the front window of a home.

"Everyone knows a family member or a family that is stricken by this, and we just want to do our part to help the families of autism.  We also want to help first responders to learn more about approaching them."

 

If you want a sticker, you can stop at the fire department and pick them up.  Or, you can get in touch with the SFD, and they'll bring one to you.


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