Shawn Snaith was chosen as the latest winner of Fox 18 and SERVPRO’s Salute to First Responders.
He’s a critical care paramedic for MEDIC EMS and also a husband and father.
“My wife is a huge supporter of what I do,” Snaith said. “I’ve got four kids.”
Two children are on the autism spectrum.
“I’ve got 11-year-old daughter and I’ve got a six-year-old son both with autism and I’ve seen how much it takes to calm them down in situations when they get overstimulated,” Snaith said.
Shawn came up with idea for sensory bags — all MEDIC ambulances have them now — ready to be used when a rescue situation comes up involving someone with autism.
“That’s one of the things with, you know, sensory overload, is they have a chance of bolting out into the the street and I want to make sure that we are able to transport them safely and without any medications to sedate them,” Snaith said.
“Lights, sirens, people are going to cause them to overstimulate really fast, and this way they can have a sensory bag,” Elizabeth Snaith said. “They can have some kind of squeeze toy or something. Anything we can do to help that doesn’t include right away having to resort to a drug being given to make them calm down.”
The Snaith family used their personal experience to make life better for others.
“I think it’s important to know that there’s other parents out there that have the same difficulties,” Elizabeth said. “But also, it’s important to have the ability to connect with somebody that’s figured out ways that help, versus feeling like you’re alone or isolated in this kind of a situation.”
Shawn works 12-hour shifts at MEDIC but still finds time to volunteer at New Kingdom Equine Therapy — a life-changing place for his children.
“They love it, and I’ve actually seen equine therapy help when I have my daughter completely overstimulated just before riding, she gets on,” Shawn said. “That horse she rides and by the time she is done with that, she’s a completely different person.”