(Rosemount, MN) — Marcy 30th, 2023 — A Minnesota family is giving back to help students with sensory processing differences. Deborah Gee-Tritschler, her husband Brian Flagg and their son Devin Flagg are donating 65 Fraser Sensory Kits to Intermediate School District 917 in Rosemount. The sensory kits will help students enrolled in the school’s autism program with their sensory processing differences, so they can be more comfortable at school and focus easier.
Sensory processing differences are common in people with autism, but also those with anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other emotional or behavioral issues. People with sensory processing differences may feel overwhelmed by loud noises, bright lights, strong smells, crowds and other sensory input. That can cause extreme discomfort and leave little room for focusing on anything else.
Devin Flagg has autism and superior canal dehiscence syndrome (SCDS) in both ears. His condition means he has “exquisitely sensitive ears to sound,” and it has made navigating many spaces particularly hard. Despite his challenges, Devin earned an associate’s degree in accounting from Dakota County Technical College, which is housed in the same building as ISD 917. It was in the hallways there that the spark of this idea grew.
Devin would see students from ISD 917 in the hallway and noticed that some of them were struggling with sensory input at the school.
“The bright, humming florescent lights, intense smells from the woodworking and automotive classrooms and the noise of changing classes were, at times, overwhelming stimuli for me too. I wanted to help these students modify their environment and give them the tools to do so,” says Devin.
Working with his parents, Devin reached out to Fraser and was connected to Fraser Sensory Supports and Training Manager Gina Brady. Brady created the Fraser Sensory Kits to help people with sensory processing differences participate in more experiences and events in the community. The family decided the kits would be the right fit for what they were hoping to do.
“We wanted to empower kids to modify their environment,” says Deborah. “But more than that, we wanted to validate that what they’re hearing and feeling is normal.”