MedicAlert for Autism, and Other Ideas About Safety

When my son was 4 or 5, I brought him with his sister and some friends with their children to a spray park.  While I was busy with his sister, out of the corner of my eye I saw him walking – on the other side of the fence.  By the time I got to where I had seen him, he was gone.

After 10 or 15 minutes of frantic looking with the help of friends and community centre staff, I went back to where I had seen him.  There was a lady there with a bike trailer, and she caught my eye. “Are you looking for someone?” she asked. “This little guy crawled into my trailer, and I asked him his name but he didn’t answer. I figured someone would be around sooner or later.”

Have you ever lost your child?

As you know, autism isn’t always recognizable to those who don’t know the signs, and this can make those on the spectrum particularly vulnerable in an emergency situation.

Autism Canada has partnered with MedicAlert Foundation Canada to create a unique program designed specifically to support Canadians on the autism spectrum and provide peace of mind to families and caregivers.  The MedicAlert Autism Program officially launched on April 10.

Here is how the program works:

• The program is available to all Canadians on the autism spectrum.

• Subscribers provide MedicAlert with the relevant personal (routines, triggers and de-escalation techniques) and medical information (allergies, medications) emergency responders need in an emergency

• The program includes a special offer that entitles new subscribers to receive:

  • Free unique Blue and Red MedicAlert Autism Program ID and Shoe Tag
  • Free Shipping
  • Free Registration
  • No Tax
  • One-year subscription to MedicAlert service

• The cost of the program to new subscribers is only $60

Key reasons why the MedicAlert Autism Program is a good choice for individuals on the autism spectrum:

Voice in an emergency – if an individual with autism is unable to effectively communicate, MedicAlert tells emergency responders what they need to know and empowers them to make informed decisions

Designed to rigorous medical standards – MedicAlert’s medically trained specialists ensure that all information on the MedicAlert ID adheres to globally accepted medical standards that are critically relied on by emergency responders

Critical assistance in seconds – MedicAlert’s 24/7 Emergency Hotline relays key medical and personal information to emergency responders within an average of five seconds of a call, in 140 languages

Family notification – MedicAlert will notify family of the situation and whereabouts of the subscriber at the time of an emergency

Educates emergency responders – MedicAlert specifically trains emergency responders including police and paramedics to look for the authentic emblem, read the information and  call the 24/7 Emergency Hotline.

This might be a helpful resource for you.  To order, please call 1-877-217-7448. (Monday – Friday9 a.m. – 8 p.m., EST)

Other Ideas and Resources:

  •  Project Lifesaver Manitoba provides people who are at risk of being lost with a personal locator device for a fee.  They also train police, fire/rescue and other first responders to quickly locate and rescue “at risk” individuals.
  • Make sure your school has a safety plan.  If your child goes missing, what are the procedures for finding him and for notifying you?  And do they have policies in place to guard your child from ending up with other people without your knowledge?
  • It’s a simple strategy, but dressing your child in bright colors makes him or her easier to spot.
  • When on outings, coordinate with other adults to make sure you know who is watching.  “You’ve got him?” is an often-used phrase in our family.  Only use this strategy with adults who are alert and understand what might happen if they aren’t observant.
  • As soon as you can, teach your child his name, address, and phone number.
  • Labels on bags or clothing can help, if your child is separated from you.  We have a link to Mabel’s Labels, where you can buy durable labels and tags of all sorts.
  • A well-trained dog, service dog or not, could help lower the risk of losing someone. The MSAR K-9 Program (Manitoba Search and Rescue) and Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides can give you information about trained service dogs.

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