Eagle Scout candidate Eric Hense, of Cohasset, decided to do something special for his community project: make autism sensory kits for first responders around the South Shore.
The kits are designed to help people with special needs and sensory-processing disorders in emergencies. They contain a weighted blanket, a communications kit, noise- cancelling headphones, fidget and sensory toys, a picture book, cleaning wipes, and an instructions sheet.
The items in the sensory kit can help first responders calm down, communicate with, and occupy people with sensory-processing disorders in emergency situations.
Hense, who donated 13 kits to the Hull fire and police departments, says he got the inspiration for this project from his older brother, who has autism.
“He kind of inspired me to do this project, to help people like him,” he says.
Hence started a GoFundMe to buy the necessary supplies. His original goal was $4,000. But when he surpassed that amount in a little more than a day, he upped it to $6,000 so he could provide more kits for more towns.
“I was really amazed by the amount of support,” he says. “It was really great to see.”
When asked why he chose Hull as one of the towns to donate to, Hense explains that he “felt that Hull could use these sensory kits in their first responders’ vehicles.”
“I think there’s multiple special education schools in Hull, and these are really great for helping people like my brother in emergencies,” he adds.
The Hull Fire Department said in a statement that “individuals with autism present a challenge for first responders in an emergency situation. They have increased sensory functions and do not respond to the typical methods of assessment that we perform on a regular basis. … These sensory kits bridge this gap for us, providing a safe, calm environment to properly assess the given situation.”
Now that he has completed the community project, Hense has to complete a few more badges to become an Eagle Scout. He will have to appear before the Board of Review at the Scout Master Conference, an appearance he is hoping will happen in the next few months.