‘Siren-free zone’ - Laingsburg hosts sensory-friendly homecoming parade
“So we contacted the high school principal and some of the teachers up there who are in charge of the parade and asked if this is something we could do, and they were all for it.”
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Laingsburg Middle School teacher, Becky Malaski, said her son, Parker, was able to enjoy Laingsburg’s homecoming parade in a siren-free zone – all thanks to a school essay written by her daughter.
Parker Malaski loves the homecoming parade.
“Well I like the marching band and I like all the parade floats. There was one time a wheel of fortune,” said Parker. He recalled a time when he’d seen a Family Feud float, too.
Parker is on the spectrum for autism and even though he loves parades, he doesn’t enjoy the loud noise.
“One time were here at this parade and he had to run in the car and he put his head down, covered his ears. He’s worn headphones before but even that, his anxiety is so high he’s not really enjoying his time here,” said Becky.
That gave Parker’s younger sister, Kinley, a bright idea. She would use a school assignment to persuade Laingsburg to have a siren-free zone at the beginning of this year’s homecoming parade.
“I wrote about how it not only could affect like special needs kids but it also could affect veterans, possibly animals, and other things. But it just bugs me that I had to see him suffer,” said Kinley.
“Parker didn’t get to come to the parade last year because he was so worried about the sirens,” said Aleigha Highfield, a friend and classmate of Parker.
So, this year, Kinley made sure her brother won’t have any issues enjoying the parade.
“Well it makes me feel good that we put up all those signs then they won’t turn their sirens on because sirens make my ears bleed,” said Parker.
The community came out to show support of their homecoming parade’s first ever siren-free zone.
“I think that it’s really important to be able to have everybody come. I don’t like the sirens myself so I think it’s a lot better and I think it’s really awesome for the community to do something like this,” said Meriel Burley, a friend and classmate of Parker.
The first few blocks of the parade were considered a “siren-free zone.” The rest of the parade route had horns and sirens.
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