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Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Autism Kits in Utah Ambulances

Scott McKane at KSTU-TV, Salt Lake City:
Emergency medical technicians in Utah are hoping to better respond to autistic patients with special kits that are now in ambulances across the state.

John Wilson Autism Kits are now in every single Gold Cross ambulance in Utah. The kits are named after the son of a Payson paramedic who learned some crucial tips trying to calm his own autistic son during stressful situations.

Jeff Wilson learned a lot while training to be a paramedic but he said one thing he and many other EMTs were not prepared for is dealing with individuals who are on the autism spectrum.

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

When Wilson's son, John, was diagnosed with autism, a new world of learning was opened to him.

Wilson and his wife began using American sign language and learned about tools, like colorful "popper" bracelets, that can help calm an individual on the spectrum.

So Wilson made a kit, named after his son, which also includes sound-reducing headphones and a sign language translation paper.