Firefighter-EMT invents gadget to calm autistic patients
Bill Carey created a bottle that helps with visual and auditory stimulation in an effort to help autistic patients feel more comfortable
By EMS1 Staff
NEWINGTON, N.H. — A firefighter-EMT invented a device to help calm young autistic patients while they are being transported in an ambulance.
Seacoast Online reported that Newington Fire Department firefighter-EMT Bill Carey created a gadget out of a plastic water bottle, tiny beads, bells, smiley face balls and toy bugs in the hopes that it will help patients who have autism, ADHD or anxiety.
“I grew up with a brother with physical and mental disabilities, so this is close to my heart,” Carey said. “Children and even adults with those types of diagnoses respond to different stimuli.”
Carey said he was inspired to create the device while watching a TV show about stimulation devices for people with autism.
“The bottle is ribbed, so it’s for the sense of touch,” he said. “The items in the bottle are for visual stimulation and the objects when shaken have auditory stimulation. The bottle can be rolled, so that the objects covered by the beads are revealed.”
Carey said the challenge with patients with disabilities is that a relationship needs to be established in a very short amount of time.
“We want them to know we’re there with them,” he said. “That way parents and spouses get a sense that we’re going to try to do something that works.”
Assistant Fire Chief Jeffrey LeDuc said the stuffed animals the department normally use don’t address all of the senses.
“Years ago, we used to blow up rubber gloves and draw faces on them,” Chief LeDuc said. “Then we got the stuffed animals. But, we want to provide the highest care possible to the greater community.”
Chief LeDuc and Carey plan to speak with a center that helps autistic children flourish to see if they can improve the gadget.