4 Affordable products that can Help keep your child with Autism Safe in an Emergency

As a parent, you want to believe that you will always be ready and able to protect your child. There is no greater bond than that between a parent and child. Most parents would give their lives to save their child without even hesitating. 

However, a time could come when you are rendered incapable of being able to take care of your child. For example in an accident or a house fire. In this case, the best way you can be sure to keep your child safe is to take some advanced precautions.

I could write a book about Autism and safety. In fact, I am thinking about doing just that. But for now, here are four simple things you can do immediately to help make sure your child is safe in the event of a disaster or emergency situation.

A Seat Belt Cover that identifies a child as having Autism

This tool notifies emergency responders that your child has Autism and they may not respond, or respond differently than other children to verbal instructions. 

Depending on where you live, police officers and other first responders have little to no training on recognizing Autism and how to work with those individuals. 

There have been countless examples of news stories where police have mistakenly identified teenagers with Autism as having been under the influence of drugs or alcohol and arresting them instead of helping them in emergency situations. 

The good news is that law enforcement agencies are starting to provide more training for police officers to identify when a child has Autism and how to respond. 

However, getting a seatbelt cover to identify your child as having Autism providing simple clear information to police officers that could be invaluable in the event of an emergency. 

While I hope your family never experiences this, if you are ever rendered unconscious, or incapacitated due to a car accident, having a seatbelt cover to identify your child as having Autism will help responders assist him.

When interviewing an emergency responder and asking the number one thing parents of children with Autism could do to proactively help responders in the event of an emergency, EMT Chris F. suggested something to identify your child as Autistic is helpful in an emergency situation. 

He says, “It is useful so first responders can identify the occupant’s needs and treat the patient accordingly.”

There are several options on Amazon, I find this one above to give the clearest instructions to police officers and other first responders.

While, I hope you never have to use it, this is something every family of a  child with Autism should have. 

A Medical Bracelet 

A medical bracelet is another easy and common way to identify your child as having Autism.

Some parents feel worried about the social stigma around having Autism and do not want to identify their child as having Autism.

However, if your child is non-verbal and cannot provide basic information like his name and a parents name and phone numbers to a police officer, it is imperative that they are wearing something that would identify that information.

I have also researched this one called RoadID www.roadid.com that has some great options for medical and identification bracelets. For kids with sensory issues they have one that is stretchy silicone (so no buckle issues). They also offer access to an updateable and secure online emergency profile to which you can attach documents and add additional information. You can also add badges to it for things like Diabetes T1 or T2/  the puzzle piece symbols, etc.

A GPS tracking device

Every parent wants to believe that their child will be safe when they send them to school. However, the truth is, there are far too many stories about missing children with Autism from schools in the news. 

In fact, today as I am writing this article, a four-year-old child is missing from school. Putting a GPS tracking device in their pockets could help in the event of a tragedy. 

This is usually met with a lot of controversy.  Parents often express discomfort having their child walk around with a tracking device.  

It can also be a bit impractical.  The truth is you would have to try to figure out a way to keep it on your child’s body without having them fuss with it.  Putting it in a backpack wouldn’t work because it is unlikely in the event a child were to wander, they would have it with them. 

 However, most kids can learn to keep something in their pocket without touching it. 

If you know your child wanders away, the benefit of this may significantly outweigh the inconvenience. 

It is another one of those things, you hope you never have to use, but retrospectively, never want to wish you had. 

After doing some research, I recommend this one due to its low price for monthly service. 

Exterior Door Alarms

Children leaving the home during the night once they are able to open doors is a fear every parent has. 

Get an alarm for your front door so you are alerted if your child were to leave. 

It is critical that if you have a young child in your house that may leave the house at night that you put an alarm on your door, whether or not they have Autism.

You don’t need an elaborate home security system. For just a few dollars, you can get a simple motion detector alarm for each door in your home.

This way, if your child left the house when you were sleeping or even distracted by a phone call or doing dishes, they won’t get very far without you knowing it.

It’s truly a no-brainer and worth the peace of mind. 

Everybody thinks an emergency won’t happen to them. However the truth is, anything can happen to anyone. Being prepared is the best way to keep your child safe. These simple easy things can truly save your child’s life in the event of an emergency. 

It’s the classic case of better to have it and not need it then need it and not have it. 

What is a Language Delay

 

You sit on the park bench and wave as your child plays in the sand box. Your child smiles back…. Just then a little girl, who looks to be about the same age as your child, comes to the woman sitting next to you and says, “Mommy, I want juice.” You smile politely but secretly, inside it feels as tho someone has kicked you in the gut. You are lucky if your child says juice. You look at your perfect beautiful child and wonder if they are just slow to talk or there is something wrong ….

 

Every child speaks at a different age.” “They are just spoiled.” “Their uncle didn’t speak until he was five and now he is a dentist.” “He’ll talk when he starts school and gets around other kids.” “You worry too much. There is nothing wrong!” Everyone around you has an opinion. But you know, in your gut, something is wrong.

 

I am not going to sugar coat this. You are trusting me to guide you, and I owe you honesty. While there is some truth to the fact that kids develop differently, there are certain milestones that all kids should hit.

 

If you think your child has a language delay, the first step is to determine if they are missing any milestones.

 

The best resource I have found for determining milestones is the First Years Language Chart. 

If you have determined your child is in fact, missing milestones, You have the right to have your child evaluated for a language delay. As a parent, you do not have to wait for a doctor or  teacher to validate your concerns. The opinions of friends and family do not matter. The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) gives you a legal right to have your child evaluated.

 

If it turns out that they do have a language delay, help is available. Your child may qualify for early intervention or preschool services. If your child is under three years old, you should contact your county’s department of health and request an evaluation for early intervention. If your child is over three years old, you would contact your local school district.

 

If you are still on the fence about whether you should make that call, please know, there is no risk.  These evaluations are completely free.  It does not matter what your income is or whether or not you have health insurance.  You will not be charged anything. If you are wrong,  you will have given up a few hours and an evaluator you will never see again, will think you are nuts. So, what? It is YOUR child’s future we are talking about.

 

The good news is that if you are right, your child will get the help they need. Many times, early intervention services are enough to catch a child up with his peers by the time he starts kindergarten. According to a study conducted but the NJEIS, 82.29% of parents reported that early intervention helped their children learn and grow.

 

In fact, a study conducted by Dr. Lovaas, the founder of applied behavior analysis

(ABA), shows that 40 % children who are diagnosed with Autism who receive intensive ABA services will fully catch up with their peers by the time they start school at five. Many even have their diagnosis removed.  That’s why it is so important to act now.  A language delay does not have to be a life-long disability but it does mean your child may need help, and the early you start, the better their outcome will be.

 

Want to Start Helping Your Child Today?

 

Jessica has made it easy for YOU to learn more about ABA, the treatment that is clinically proven to help 40 % of children recover from Autism? 

 

She has created an easy to understand guide for parents to start ABA while they are enduring the long wait for to services to start. This valuable tool will make sure your child doesn’t miss one day of this life altering treatment.

 

 

 

 

Why is Autism a Spectrum?

One of the mostly common questions parents with a child with Autism asks is what it means that Autism is a Spectrum Disorder.

 

Essentially, it means that every child diagnosed with Autism is different.

 

No two children have the exact same interests, strengths or weaknesses. Some children will develop into talented artists and musicians. Some will excel in math while others may have challenges learning to read. Some children with learn to talk to communicate as well as you or I and others may require the use of alternative methods of communication.

 

That’s why it is so important to consult with an Autism expert like myself who can identify a plan that will work for your child rather than what I call “a one size fits no- one approach.”

 

Since no two children with Autism are alike, it is impossible to predict a child’s outcome. Some children with Autism will learn to speak well, will be able to attend university and be financially and physical independent. Others may need supports for the rest of their lives.  

 

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (2013) there are three levels of severity for Autism:

 

Severity level Social communication Restricted, repetitive behaviors
Level 3

“Requiring very substantial support”

Severe deficits in verbal and nonverbal social communication skills cause severe impairments in functioning, very limited initiation of social interactions, and minimal response to social overtures from others. For example, a person with few words of intelligible speech who rarely initiates interaction and, when he or she does, makes unusual approaches to meet needs only and responds to only very direct social approaches Inflexibility of behavior, extreme difficulty coping with change, or other restricted/repetitive behaviors markedly interfere with functioning in all spheres. Great distress/difficulty changing focus or action.
Level 2

“Requiring substantial support”

Marked deficits in verbal and nonverbal social communication skills; social impairments apparent even with supports in place; limited initiation of social interactions; and reduced or  abnormal responses to social overtures from others. For example, a person who speaks simple sentences, whose interaction is limited  to narrow special interests, and how has markedly odd nonverbal communication. Inflexibility of behavior, difficulty coping with change, or other restricted/repetitive behaviors appear frequently enough to be obvious to the casual observer and interfere with functioning in  a variety of contexts. Distress and/or difficulty changing focus or action.
Level 1

“Requiring support”

Without supports in place, deficits in social communication cause noticeable impairments. Difficulty initiating social interactions, and clear examples of atypical or unsuccessful response to social overtures of others. May appear to have decreased interest in social interactions. For example, a person who is able to speak in full sentences and engages in communication but whose to- and-fro conversation with others fails, and whose attempts to make friends are odd and typically unsuccessful. Inflexibility of behavior causes significant interference with functioning in one or more contexts. Difficulty switching between activities. Problems of organization and planning hamper independence.

The truth is that some children Autism will respond better to therapies than others and despite millions of dollars and decades of research, nobody knows why.

 

My goal for your child is that he lives into the greatest potential for him. I want your family help your family  to achieve excellence and am committed your child’s success. You are not in this alone. Together, we make a great team.

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