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Friday- September 25, 2020 – On Friday, two Bladen County students donated eight (8)sensory emergency bags to Bladen County EMS. The sensory emergency bags, donated by Cate DeVane (15) and Gianna Enloe (15), will be used by Bladen County EMS to provide tools for individuals that have sensory processing disorders (SPD), such as autism spectrum disorder, to cope during stressful situations. If an individual has a SPD and needs emergency care, the tools could help the patient to cope easier and allow the EMS provider to respond appropriately. The tools could also help individuals cope if their caregiver needs emergency attention as well. Each bag includes noise-canceling earmuffs, sunglasses, playdoh, fidget spinners, and other assorted tools. The bags also include a prepared page to help non-verbal individuals communicate with the medic. Jamie Rivera, a captain with Bladen County EMS, says “we are so appreciative of these bags and to have young people in our community with a heart for helping others.” She adds “we plan to add these bags to all of our quick response vehicles and all of our ambulances.”

Gianna Enloe –

“My older brother, Tucker, has Autism.  I have known Catesince we were small.  She recognized that I have a close connection with exceptional children and adults, and asked if I would like to help her with this project.  I, of course, said, ‘Absolutely!’ Exceptional children and adults feel just as we do, but they don’t always have a way to express it, especially in difficult situations. These sensory bags help with those situations. It means so much that Cate let me help. To know that exceptional people, like my brother, can be helped with these bags warms my heart.”

Cate DeVane –

“I saw a news excerpt regarding an EMS provider responding to a situation with a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  The EMS provider was unable to appropriately assess the child due to the lack of resources available.  Shortly after, my mom mentioned an interesting article regarding sensory bags for EMS providers. I thought our county could benefit from this service as well. After contacting Gianna and my cousin, who is a teacher for exceptional children, we were able to fund raise and gather the resources needed to provide this service to our community.”

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