autism

A pair of Seguin firefighters talk to a little boy on the playscape at Ball Elementary on Friday.

Everyone is different and has unique capabilities when it comes to communicating — especially children with special needs.

How they communicate can prove challenging for first responders who may not be familiar with the child or their needs in an emergency situation.

That’s where parent Laura Schmidt recently stepped in.

She wanted to ensure area first responders are familiar with children who have autism by hosting a session discussing the diagnosis and some of the different characteristics.

“A big stressor for me is if something happens to me are they going to be able to respond well to my child?” Schmidt said.

Together with Rachel Bloxham, family engagement specialist at Ball Elementary, the pair invited law enforcement and firefighters from the area to the class.

But this isn’t the first time Schmidt made the effort to educate.

Last year, she took her daughter, Hattie, who was diagnosed with autism to the Seguin Police Department to meet with several officers. In that instance, Hattie was taken to the officers in their environment.

This time the officers and first responders came into that of hers and her classmates.

The first responders and children were given the ability to interact so they could become familiar with each other.

Interactions such as this could have profound affects on the children.

As they become more familiar with the officers and the firefighters, they are more likely to be less afraid of them, should an emergency situation arises.

Additionally, the officers can become more familiar with the communication skills and cues of the children making their jobs easier.

A little understanding on both sides can really go a long way.

Our Voice is the opinion of the editorial board of the Seguin Gazette.

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