HPD Sells Autism Awareness Patches – Shelby County Reporter


By MICHELLE LOVE | Personal editor

HELEN – The Helena Police Department has partnered with nonprofit KultureCity to sell specialty patches for Autism Awareness Month, which runs throughout April.

Birmingham-based KultureCity is the largest nonprofit awareness and sensory inclusion organization in the United States. The organization was started by two local doctors who were frustrated that their son, who was diagnosed with autism, had been excluded from events that other children were able to attend.

“They’ve worked hard across the country to make public places like malls, sports venues, zoos and many other places ‘sensory inclusive,'” HPD Chief Brad Flynn said. “Staff are trained on how to interact with people with sensory disorders such as autism, PTSD or sensory processing disorders and provide them with the necessary elements to feel included.”

This isn’t the first time HPD has partnered with KultureCity. In December 2021, HPD premiered their new Sensory Inclusion Trailer which is a soundproof trailer used to help people with sensory awareness issues feel safe at events where they may feel overwhelmed like concerts or festivals.

“The bedrooms are state-of-the-art with adjustable lighting, bubble wall lights and other features to help them readjust,” Flynn said. “They also provide ‘sensory bags’ for those who might need help with high noise sensitivity. These bags include noise canceling headphones, fidget toys commonly used by people with sensory needs, and a nonverbal communication card to make it easier for them to communicate with others if they are nonverbal.

Flynn said that in 2020, KultureCity developed a training program for first responders to help them learn not only to recognize the characteristics of someone at risk of sensory overload, but also how to interact safely with the environment. individual and to give him all the help he may need. in the moment.

“Helena PD was the second law enforcement agency in the nation to receive this certification and the first city in the world to have all city employees trained in sensory awareness and inclusion,” Flynn said. “We are very proud of our work promoting sensory inclusion and couldn’t think of a better organization to support with this year’s proceeds than KultureCity.”

The police department is selling two patches for this year’s sale: one with the KultureCity logo and another that promotes autism inclusion. The patches are limited edition and cost $10 each or $20 for both together. Patches can be purchased at HPD headquarters or by contacting [email protected] One hundred percent of the profits will go to KultureCity.


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