BRANSON, Mo. – The local non-profit invited members of the community this morning for a free learning event centered around autism.
Elevate Branson already provides unique services in the area to help children and adults struggling with mental and behavioral health. They currently have the only sensory room available to the public in the area. It provides children with special needs a sense of calm and comfort while they learn to self-regulate their behaviors and improve their focus.
Earlier this year, Elevate Branson was able to acquire their first therapy dog, Theo. Theo’s number one job is to be a calming element. In return, Theo receives lots of love from kids like Braiden Mossclark.
“When we hang out, I used to rub his belly because he likes it very good,” said Mossclark.
Braiden’s mother, Charity Roland, says it’s amazing how much this dog helps her son.
“Theo, like if my son is having an issue, will sit with Braiden and he’ll calm him down,” said Roland. “He knows how to lick him and sit. So it just helps Braiden altogether.”
The event today was filled with interested families, as well as local first responders from the Branson Police Department and the Branson Fire Department.
Assistant Police Chief Eric Schmitt invited members of the community to come and learn about Vitals Aware Services. It’s an app that shares vital information with first responders. Assistant Police Chief Schmitt believes this new technology will help officers in the field.
“If we get a heads up as we’re waking up and we get an alert, we can approach the situation completely differently. Understanding that this not a normally aggressive person. It’s somebody suffering from an illness, and we can use our training in that realm as opposed to trying to guess if this person’s going to attack me.”
This service is actually free to those who sign up in the area. Vitals Aware Services is locally sponsored and paid for by Branson’s Veterans of America 913. They believe this could help veterans who suffer from PTSD.
Local police were also showing families who attended today’s event, Project Life Saver. Another tool officers can use to find anyone with special needs who goes missing. Jesse Wilcox with Branson PD says it’s as easy as wearing a bracelet. Every family that signs up is given a special device for someone to wear.
“We set the frequency specific to the device that they carry, and we’re able to locate which direction the frequency’s coming from and pinpoint us in the direction that they’re headed,” said Wilcox.