Eagle Scout gifts Marietta Police Department sensory kits for kids on the spectrum
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - A Marietta Eagle Scout is helping police when they respond to calls involving people with special needs by gifting them sensory kits.
“When individuals with special needs are in new or challenging situations, they can feel uncomfortable and anxious and frightened. This is especially true when interacting with police officers or new people,” said Elijah Metellus, a 17-year-old.
That’s where the carefully crafted kit comes in, which includes things like flashcards, fidget toys, and whiteboards.
“Whether they are things they can touch, things they can see, things that they can hear, those tactile things that will help our individuals calm down,” said Zakira Golden, the owner of Behavior Analysis and Intervention Center.
Metellus made 50 kits for the Marietta Police Department as his Eagle Scout project. His inspiration: his little sister who has autism.
“Last summer when I received my driver’s license, I wondered what would happen if Mia was in the car while I was getting pulled over. My little sister would definitely get nervous and would need support calming down,” said Metellus.
“It’s a great thing to be gifted in our department because our officers come across many different individuals on a daily basis,” said Major Patrick Bonito, with the Marietta Police Department.
While officers are trained in identifying individuals with special needs and how to interact with them, they say actual tools like this are helpful.
“It kind of helps us deal with those people in crisis when we reach them on the street,” said Major Benito.
Officers will keep the kits in squad cars and at the department.
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