Sun Prairie family creates ‘Keep Calm Kits’ for first responders
The kits include sensory toys and games to help children with behavioral health disorders.
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A Sun Prairie family has started a small business aimed at helping first responders interact with individuals with behavioral health disorders.
10-year-old Sean Feuquay says he wanted to help other kids like him.
“I’m not the only person that has sensory needs and stuff,” said Feuquay. “That’s why I created these Keep Calm Tool Kits to actually help them calm down.”
He deals with a several mental health disorders and uses toys like this on a daily basis.
Courtney Willegal, Sean’s mother, says she grew worried about how others might react to her son’s behavior.
“When he becomes overly stimulated, he becomes outwardly explosive and violent,” said Willegal. “I was very fearful of responders not knowing how to interact with him and that he may get hurt or he may hurt somebody else.”
Willegal says she and Sean began researching and testing different toys that can evoke a calming sensation.
For example, the kits include weighted blankets and stress balls to help with anxiety. Other toys are things like fidget spinners, glitter tubes, and an interlocking gear building set.
“One tool may not work,” said Willegal. “That’s where they can go to another tool or another tool until they find what works.”
Sun Prairie Police Officer Jesse Davila was given a kit to test out and says it’s already been helpful to have on hand.
He says when he was out on a mental health response call, he used the kit to help a victim open up about what happened.
“At first she wasn’t very reactive and then she saw something that she liked and started playing with it,” said Davila. “She started communicating with me and we started having a dialogue. She told me her name and what was going on.”
Officer Davila says the victim shared with him that the toys helped her feel calm.
“I was really impressed that it worked so well,” said Officer Davila.
This month, Fequay and Willegal gave a formal presentation to the Sun Prairie Police Department’s Mental Health Response Team to train officers about how the tools work. The department is currently considering purchasing additional kits.
The mother-son duo’s goal is to get 1,000 officers across the country equipped with The Keep Calm Tool Kits.
“Because if 1,000 officers are supported, trained, given the resources, then imagine the thousands of people each officer will interact with,” said Willegal.
If you’d like to learn more about The Keep Calm Tool Kits or donate a kit to a police department, click HERE.
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