Southborough cares about autism: Special soap, an inspired picture book, and NECC’s annual Gala

by beth on November 23, 2021

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Recently, I received two news releases related to efforts to support the autistic community. It reminded me about an interesting article I read about a resident last year and forgot to share.

News includes two special products and a successful fundraiser.

SPLATZ™ Naturally Fun Hand Soap Motivates Children with Autism to Wash Their Hands – press release

The Southborough based One Fun Company issued a press release on a product that was officially launched one year ago. While appropriate for any child, SPLATZ is now being marketed to families with children they determined it is especially helpful for. According to the release, the fun soap is ideal for “autism spectrum disorder who may be sensitive to stimuli associated with” washing hands:

SPlATZOne Fun™ Company Inc., a manufacturer of playful personal care products for kids, today announced that SPLATZ™ Naturally Fun Hand Soap can be a fun and effective way to help motivate children with autism spectrum disorder to engage in handwashing and develop good hygiene habits. Each round ball of colorful soap bursts when gently squeezed between hands, producing a satisfying tactile sensation that delights children who are often sensitive to many textures. . .

“Using SPLATZ has helped increase interest in handwashing for several children on the [autism] spectrum that I see for treatment,” said Briana Rigau, a pediatric occupational therapist in Denver. “Some children don’t like touching the texture of standard soaps. The unique form of SPLATZ can help a child not only tolerate touching and using soap, but also fully participate in washing their hands.” . . .

“Parents of children with autism are always looking for innovative ways to build their child’s self-care skills, including the very important habit of handwashing,” said Alli DiVincenzo, CEO and co-founder of One Fun Company. “Since we launched SPLATZ, we have heard from many such parents who have found the soap not only fun to use overall but a good motivational tool as they work on bathroom routines with their children. The playful, but effective, nature of SPLATZ makes it a win-win for parents and kids.”

Early intervention presents an opportunity to support healthy development and the potential to deliver lifelong benefits. Tara Bowman, of Colorado, has a son with autism who experiences severe sensory processing issues and struggles to wash his hands. “SPLATZ soap was a game changer for him,” Bowman said. “Not only does he now wash his hands, but he is calm the entire time and looks forward to washing his hands as long as he can use SPLATZ.”

The company also pitches that a portion of each sale will go to YourMomCares and a 501(c)3 organization “that funds innovative and impactful solutions that address today’s kids’ mental wellness challenges.” You can learn more and purchase the product here.

Southborough mom publishes children’s book to spread autism awareness Community Advocate

Hi Im RosieLast spring, a resident published her first book. The Community Advocate wrote about her accomplishment and motivation that summer:

Nicole M. Sigler’s first children’s book, “Hi, I’m Rosie!” is intended to help children have a better understanding of what it is like for someone who has autism and the challenges they may face.

Sigler was inspired by her 5-year-old daughter, Isabella Rose (known as “Rosie” at home), who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2. When Rosie started preschool, Sigler noticed that other classmates did not understand why she was wearing headphones or wasn’t making eye contact. She tried to find a children’s book to help her nieces and nephews understand Rosie better but could not find one. Frustrated, she decided to research writing one on her own for a younger demographic between the ages of 4 and 10.

You can read the full article here. You can find “Hi, I’m Rosie!” here.

The New England Center for Children Raises Record $1.1 Million at 2021 Children of Promise Gala – press release

It sounds like supporters of the Southborough based institute for autism were happy to return to an in person fundraiser this fall. The press release boasts of the gala in Boston on November 12th:

Jenny Johnson led the auction at NECC Children of Promise Gala (from Facebook)More than 300 business leaders, philanthropists, and NECC families and friends gathered to enjoy an evening of heartwarming stories of hope and inspiration, a lively auction hosted by NESN’s Jenny Johnson, and a special recognition of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders for their tremendous support of Massachusetts approved, private, special education schools during the pandemic.

Referring to state aid given to them and other Chapter 766 schools for pandemic related needs, CEO Vincent Strully Jr said that there has never been a more supportive administration than Baker’s. Governor Baker in turn shared his and Secretary Sudder’s appreciation of NECC:

NECC Board Chair John Y. Kim and Governor Baker (from Facebook) When you go through what we just went through and you work in an environment where a physical presence and close contact is how you succeed, to get through it the way this organization has, to basically say to COVID, ‘yeah, you’re for real, but we’re playing through it, because that’s what we have to do on behalf of the people we take care of and look after,’ I can’t tell you how special that is.

The dedication of staff was an ongoing theme that night:

Throughout the night, the audience was reminded of the selfless dedication of the staff and teachers who provided care for their students during the pandemic. They continue to do so during an unprecedented national labor shortage, which is being felt by special education programs across the country, especially residential programs like those at NECC. Elizabeth Rubin, a social worker and recruiter based in New York City whose 11-year-old son is a current student in NECC’s residential program, shared her admiration for the teachers caring for her son.

“NECC’s teachers are true heroes,” said Rubin. “The nationwide staffing shortages are making everything harder, especially residential programs for special needs. I know that the teachers at NECC are struggling but they never show it.”

You can find more photos here.

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