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Utah paramedic uses personal experience to create autism kits for ambulances

Gold Cross Paramedic Jeff Wilson used lessons learned with his son who is autistic to help others in EMS

By Bill Carey

SALT LAKE CITY — Gold Cross ambulances in Utah have introduced specialized kits aimed at enhancing their response to patients with autism.

These kits, known as John Wilson Autism Kits, are named in honor of the son of a Payson paramedic. This paramedic developed the kits after acquiring essential insights from personal experiences in calming his autistic son during challenging situations, Fox 13 reported.

During his paramedic training, Wilson noted that he and others found themselves ill-prepared to effectively assist individuals on the autism spectrum.

“When you have that added layer of stress it gets really chaotic in behavior a lot of times,” Wilson said. “It presents safety issues, on our end and on the children’s or the adult’s end who are on the spectrum.”

Wilson and his wife started learning American Sign Language and exploring various tools, such as colorful “popper” bracelets, which can be particularly soothing for individuals on the autism spectrum. Inspired by their efforts and their son’s needs, Wilson created a specialized kit, named after his child. This kit includes additional items like sound-reducing headphones and a sign language translation guide, further enhancing the support they can offer to autistic individuals.

“Because of it, he is changing the face of how EMS providers are providing care to children in Utah, which is huge,” Sarah Becker, Utah EMS for Children Medical Director and pediatric ER Physician at Primary Children’s Hospital said.