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Event for special needs kids planned for Friday

BY DANIEL PAXTON dpaxton@paducahsun.com

This Friday, children with special needs and their families are encouraged to come out and "Meet Our Special Heroes." The event will allow special needs children to meet the law enforcement and emergency personnel who keep all of us safe, and to provide information and services to families of special needs children who worry about the challenges present in keeping them safe.

The event, to be held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Anderson Technical Building on WKCTC's campus, is put on by Families on the Spectrum, a local non-profit dedicated to helping families with members on the autism spectrum, in conjunction with the McCracken County Sheriff's Department and other local emergency personnel.

"The event is similar to the Touch a Truck event, but in a sensory friendly environment," said Krissy Ramey, founding director of Families on the Spectrum, referencing the annual event sponsored by Paducah Parks Services.

Ramey said the event will allow children with sensory issues who might be bothered by bright lights, loud noises or large crowds to become acclimated to emergency personnel and equipment. Families will also have the opportunity to receive information on helpful services.

One such service is Project LifeSaver, which is offered by the McCracken County Sheriff's Department. Project LifeSaver is a nationwide program which provides tracking bracelets so families, with the help of law enforcement, can locate loved ones who are prone to wander.

Offered by the sheriff's department since 2008, Project LifeSaver, while previously underutilized, is quickly filling up due to increased interest among families with special needs children, according to Ramey. Donations will be accepted at the event, and all proceeds will go to funding the expansion of the program.

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