Future firefighter Rouru Tamatoa trying out the firehose. ALANA MUSSELLE/21042803
For their last outing for April, Autism Cook Islands yesterday visited the team of firefighters at the Rarotonga Fire and Aviation Rescue centre.
It was a great turnout with over 20 members of
the Autism CI community showing up with their families to learn about what it
takes to be a firefighter and what is involved in the job.
Crew chief Edwin Teraitua and training officer
Amos Tobia led the demonstration, giving each of the kids a turn at squirting
the firehose, a ride in the fire engines, and even a display of 20 push-ups to
demonstrate the level of fitness required to earn a fireman’s jacket and
“It’s always a pleasure having kids come in to
visit, especially our Autistic and gifted children. Seeing their smiling faces
shows us that they enjoyed their day, and it’s fun for us as well to open our
doors to the public and display what it is that we do here,” said Tobia.
It has been a busy time for Autism Cook
Islands with April being the official Autism Awareness Month.
In addition to hosting ‘Blue Day’ – one of
their biggest events of the year – earlier in April, the organisation has also
just finished a six-week swimming programme. This will resume again in Term 4
when summer returns.
The organisation’s outing to see the
firefighters was the last for this month before their initiatives for May
A Lego Programme for the young ones, along
with a Lego Robotics programme for the seniors, is set to take place in Term 2.
These aim to help the social and communication skills of autistic children.
There will also be an ASD (Autism spectrum disorder) workshop, held in
partnership with Andre Ansen from the Ministry of Education, which aims to
create further awareness.
“It’s all about awareness. Yes, April was our
official awareness month but we want to create awareness for autism all year
round,” said Kat Jensen, office manager for Autism Cook Islands.
The Fire and Aviation Rescue Team said it was
“an honour working alongside these special people”, and they look forward to
hosting these future firefighters again.