St. Charles County Police say it’s a common problem.
“We get calls quite frequently for kids with autism who are out of control, and their parents are afraid they’ll hurt themselves or someone else,” says Sergeant Dan Asher, the Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Team Coordinator.
According to Autism Speaks, discomfort caused by autism-related sensory difficulties can sometimes result in extreme agitation or uncontrollable outbursts if not calmed by certain types of visual, auditory, or tactile engagement.
To help solve the problem, The Synapsory, an area nonprofit that serves children who are struggling with autism-related behavioral issues, donated 100 “calming kits” to St. Charles County Police. The kits include a collection of toys and other items – such as pop-it bubbles or soft lights that change colors – that are designed to soothe extreme behaviors sometimes caused by autism.
“Each item in the calming kit is designed to bring sensory regulation and calm to the child,” says Terrie Desloge, founder of The Synapsory. “We’ve had feedback from other police departments we’ve donated to, who said this has helped them de-escalate situations.”
“The calming kits will be a great tool for helping these kids that we didn’t have before now,” Sgt. Asher says.
"Whenever we're called to a situation involving one of these kids, we want to make sure they're OK and have what they need to feel safe and calm," says Officer Joe Strehl, who helped coordinate the calming kits donation.
For more information about the St. Charles County Police Department, visit sccmo.org/Police.
For more information about The Synapsory, go to thesynapsory.org.