Thanks to a new program at the Ravalli Electric Co-op (REC), 125 autism sensory kits will be given to first responders throughout the Bitterroot Valley.
The initiative -- called Power of Change -- is a community outreach program funded by REC members who contribute by rounding up their electric bill payments each month to the nearest dollar.
Those funds amounted to $2,800 in November, allowing REC to award Heartism Community Center in Corvallis enough money to create autism sensory kits. The kits include noise-canceling headphones, sunglasses to dim overwhelming lights, tactile toys, and a handful of other calming items.
In an emergency situation, those on the autism spectrum or with other special needs can experience great distress as their senses are overloaded. The kits will serve as a tool for first responders to help soothe those individuals in emergencies.
“They're a perfect tool for our deputies. They're small, they don't take up any room in a car, but they're always there when we need one,” said Ravalli County Sheriff Steve Holton. “So, we're, we just feel really fortunate to be receiving these.
We’ll take a look at the traumatic experience that led one woman to approach Ravalli County first responders with the idea for those sensory kits during Wednesday's 10 O'clock News.