KENOSHA, Wis. — Thomas Landry is your typical 4-year-old kid. He loves his toys, his iPad, and playing on his phone. But what you may not initially notice is that Thomas has severe nonverbal autism. Something he, and his parents, are learning to navigate.
"Despite all the challenges, Thomas is the light of this household," said Sabrina Landry.
Sabrina Landry, Thomas' mom, says one of the biggest challenges she's encountered is getting him the medical attention he needs.
"When you have to get a vaccination or get blood drawn or teeth, or doctor visits you have to sit still and that's the last thing he wants to do," said Landry. You're in his space. You're holding him still. He does not like to be still. He likes to do his stemming and his jumping."
That's why she was happy to hear that a sensory-friendly COVID-19 vaccine clinic is coming to Kenosha.
The event, which will be hosted by the Kenosha Health Department and the Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin on Saturday, April 30th, will give kids ages 5 and up the opportunity to get their vaccinations in a calm, lower sensory space with fidgets and distraction strategies. While also protecting them against the virus.
"If there were clinics that were set up where they could get down to his level, even get on the floor with him, lay on the floor with him with his tablet or his phone. Meet him where he's at. I feel like that would make a world of difference," said Landry.
And while he's not old enough to get the COVID-19 vaccine just yet, Landry says she's thrilled to see that more people are beginning to realize the need for more sensory-friendly environments for kids with disabilities.
"It's gotta start somewhere," said Landry.
The clinic will have Pfizer vaccines and Pfizer and Moderna boosters. The vaccine is free. If you have insurance, an administrative fee will be billed to your insurance, organizers said in a statement. You are asked to bring your insurance card with you.
Second doses will be offered on May 21.
Click here to sign up for the event, which will be held 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 30 and May 21.