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Community event: Minnesota’s Autism Mom to donate combination locks to keep kids with autism safe at home

Following the tragic death of 4-year-old Waeys Ali Mohamed, a nonverbal child with autism, Sheletta Brundidge, the community activist known as ‘Minnesota’s Autism Mom,’ has  purchased keyless, electronic interior combination door locks through Amazon to donate to families.


Her business will host a free community event on Tuesday, June 18, 1-3 pm in front square of City Hall in Hopkins, 1010 1st St S, Hopkins, MN 55343. The locks will be donated at a festive community event that will feature free ice cream and other giveaways. Additional locks donated by Amazon will also be available.


Parents with children on the autism spectrum must often go to great lengths to protect their children, who may be nonverbal and, even more than other young children, prone to wandering away. The locks provide an added layer of protection for families to help them keep their kids safe and their homes secure.


Brundidge has been a longstanding and passionate advocate for families with special needs, especially autism. The podcaster, broadcaster and mother of three children on the autism spectrum, Brundidge uses her platform to share resources and knowledge about services to support families like hers.


“My son Daniel is a wanderer; he will wander off if a door is open a crack or unlocked,” shared Brundidge. “We’re watching our kids, but they are very fast. Kids with autism are often drawn to water. People say, ‘just teach them to swim’ but when they’re nonverbal and have a hard time following simple instructions, it’s not that easy.”


The interior combination locks is giving away at the June 18 event in Hopkins have a 4 to 10 digit code. While most combination door locks have combinations on the outside of the door, this lock goes on the inside, which is why Brundidge is so enthusiastic about them.


“When Sheletta reached out to us, we knew it was something important for the community and we wanted to get on board,” said Kara Hille, Amazon Regional Spokesperson in Minneapolis. “Providing additional resources for families to keep kids safe is an easy way for Amazon to support communities where our employees live and work.”


Brundidge has learned to take extensive steps to protect her children. At her home she’s installed outdoor locks, indoor locks with combination key codes and deadbolts on windows and doors. There’s an alarm on exterior doors that chirps when people enter and exit and the children’s bedrooms have fences on their doors so they can’t wander in the night.


She recommends that families with children on the spectrum take such measures to protect their families. Xfinity offers a number of self-protection smart home locks that create peace-of-mind with door and window sensors and motion sensors that can detect the difference between people and pets. Customized sensors can be installed, activated, and connected via WiFi in minutes.


Brundidge has long advocated for families with children on the spectrum, hosting free workshops and seminars to link parents and caregivers to resources and services. sponsored Minnesota’s first job fair for adults and teens with autism, drawing more than 400 applicants who found work with companies like Hy-Vee, Bremer Bank and Metro Transit.


Brundidge has authored a series of picture books featuring her children as lead characters and providing badly needed representation of Black children with special needs in the pages of children’s literature. The most recent book, “Andrew Does His Dance,” released in April, was written by her eldest son Andrew from the perspective of a non-disabled child with siblings on the spectrum.


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