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Mich. EMT creates ambulance kits for patients with autism

Pro Med EMT Amber Horton, whose son has autism, developed the kits to help keep patients calm and help them communicate with crewmembers


By Laura French

MUSKEGON, Mich. — A Michigan EMT whose son has autism has created sensory kits to help keep autistic patients calm during ambulance rides.

The kits put together by Pro Med EMT Amber Horton include items such as weighted lap pads, fidget toys and noise-canceling headphones that can soothe and distract patients during frightening and unfamiliar situations, according to WZZM. The kits also include laminated cards with pictures that can help non-verbal patients communicate with EMS providers and help patients more easily understand the medications and procedures they may need.

Horton said she was inspired to create the kits after her son Max suffered a fall and needed medical treatment. She said the incident made her better understand the unique challenges autistic patients face in emergency situations, such as being overwhelmed by lights and sirens and not being able to fully communicate their symptoms.

Training materials to learn how to interact with autistic patients also come in the kits, which will be used in ambulances in Muskegon County. Horton says she hopes to bring the kits to more areas in the future.

The kits were funded by the Michigan Community Service Commission, according to a Facebook post by Mercy Health.

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