Custom gear for people with autism helps these students shine

A mother came up with unique designs that help students with disorders their peers may not recognize.

Every material Veronica Banchs uses is chosen for a specific person and their particular need for soothing.

“That’s what this product line is meant for,” Veronica said. “It’s meant for people like me. It’s meant for people like Shawn.”

Veronica is referring to her son, Shawn Banchs. He has autism.

“We didn’t get our diagnosis until he was 10-years-old,” Veronica said. “We couldn’t understand why he behaved the way he did.”

Veronica noticed certain colors and textures could calm her son’s anxieties and outbursts. She started sewing them into his clothes, but it caught the attention of bullies at the school where Shawn is a student.

“Only to receive text messages that said, ‘you’re retarded, you should kill yourself,'” Veronica said. “He wrote a suicide note and he wanted to end his life. It’s the biggest pain I’ve ever felt in my life.”

It is a heartache Veronica said she wants to save other families. Veronica created the Blue Crayonz Inc. non-profit dedicated to providing resources like subtle sensory equipment, with accessories added inside pockets. It is a place that will be invisible to others, just like the disorder of the person who will use it.

“We don’t want people to be ashamed of wearing sensory equipment or having it in their home,” Veronica said.

“To see our kids and young adults have resources available to them,” said David Brown, vice president of Family Initiative, “so they can reach self-actualization actually thrive in our community.”

Besides customizing clothes, Veronica also designs classrooms using colors and equipment. She said it soothes students with special needs. It is all part of her mission to build a stronger support system for Southwest Florida’s community with special needs.

Reporter:Melinda Lee
Writer:Michael Mora
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