When people think of a fire station visit what they usually imagine in their head is loud sirens and lots of flashing lights. For someone with autism spectrum disorder this may be difficult situation to manage. Luckily the fire station in Mishawaka did something special for children on the autism spectrum.
Mishawaka is a city in Penn Township located in the state of Indiana. Here a fire station has recently made it possible for children on the autism spectrum to be part of a tour that was in an autism friendly environment. It was a sensory- friendly tour with no sirens or lights used throughout the whole tour. Firefighters showed kids different places in the stations and even let them try on their uniforms.
This event was started because the organizer, Shondra Rulli, has a son on the autism spectrum and her husband is a firefighter at the Mishawaka fire station. She told WNDU; “My husband is on the Mishawaka Fire Department, Dan Rulli, and we know how much our son enjoys doing this,” “We’ve created an environment that is suitable for him, and we wanted to give the other kids an opportunity to do that as well.”
Rulli wanted to give other kids on the spectrum the opportunity to visit the fire station. In an interview with WSBT 22 she said; “This is something that is very overlooked. And to be able to do something special for them, to be able to do things that neurotypical children are able to do was really important to me,”
The visit was also important so the firefighters could acknowledge and expose the kids on the autism spectrum in their community. Rulli also hopes to do more in the future to help the autism community.