Mattapoisett Probationary Firefighter Donates Autism Kits
Drew Weaver graduated from Old Rochester Regional High School last year. Not only is he a freshman at Mass Maritime Academy, but he is already a probationary firefighter for the Mattapoisett Fire Department.
Last year, in addition to being a member of the MMR Hose CO. Explorer Post – an organization designed to expose Tri-Town 14-to-18-year-olds to the fire department and EMS – Weaver was also involved in the National Honor Society. For his senior project, he came up with a kit that could accompany first responders to emergency scenes. The kits would help first responders interact with people with autism.
Weaver consulted with some special educations specialists, along with police officers and firefighters to gain advice about what might be able to help in certain situations. He looked for donations to put into the kits. He was able to assemble a number of kits for SouthCoast departments.
The thing with autism is that it's not one size fits all. So, first responders try different things. There's a bunch of different items in the kit. We have headphones for someone who might be nervous hearing the sirens during an emergency, white boards for people who are non-verbal, different fidget to stay occupied. – Drew Weaver
So far, the kits have been distributed to Dartmouth Police, Mattapoisett, Marion Fire Department, and Onset Fire Department. He plans on putting together more kits with the remaining donations.
Weaver has plans to attend the fire academy in July. After he completes the fire academy, he will become a full on-call firefighter for Mattapoisett.