We began April by with a Breakfast Sensory Took Kit Training for our Tri-Town first responders. This great group learned to better identify and work with people on the autism spectrum in emergency situations. Each squad car, ambulance and fire truck now has a sensory tool kits to have on hand and ensure positive outcomes in difficult situations. The kits contain noise cancelling headphones, fidgets, a written communication board and tips and trick for first responders.
Our talented Possibilities Boutique artists showcased their works with a table in the shop and a meet and greet. 50% of our consigners are neurodiverse and are earning income while being seen for their skills! Come shop our boutique where your purchases have the power to change lives!
The Alexandra Dilger Award, which recognizes and lifts up young adults who are neurodiverse, was announced and nominations have been rolling in all month. Stay tuned to meet some young adults striving for their dreams with the help of A Little Compassion.
On Saturday, April 30th, we launched our Neurodiversity Library by hosting our first family story time. Over thirty curated books were donated to create this collection of books surrounding the themes of inclusion, compassion, and neurodiverse characters. We strongly believe that the littlest among us will become a compassion army as they enter our schools and communities; creating a more inclusive and kind world for all.
Jodi Kelly, our Program Director read the picture books, Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang, and Sticks by Diane Alber. After the story, participants used popsicle sticks and playdough to create their own unique stick creations. Thank you to Essex Community Foundation and all of our generous book donors for creating this beautiful collection of stories.
We rounded out our month of activities celebrating Autism Acceptance Month with an Autism & Neurodiversity Panel Discussion. This lively discussion that took on the form of a myth busting panel with our autistic special guests, Jillian Noyes and Jeremy Farrell. Participants helped guide the conversation by identifying neurodiversity myths they were most interested in learning about. Together we dispelled myths including: Neuodiversity only refers to autism, Neurodiversity is a phase that some people “grow out of”, Neurodivergent people have little chance of being employed in competitive careers, and others with useful insights and real-life antidotes.
We are so thankful for Jillian and Jeremy for opening our minds and teaching us all through their lived and learned experiences on the spectrum.
Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to the Essex Community Foundation whose generous grant provided funding that made it possible for the Sensory Took Kits, Neurodiversity Library and Autism and Neurodiversity Panel to take place during such an important month spreading awareness and compassion.