At last summer has begun! We've celebrated Memorial Day; soon we will be enjoying the fireworks of the 4th of July and before we know it, we'll be saying good bye to the summer with our Labor Day plans. This past Memorial day, I went to a Mets game with friends and family. As I walked around through the parking lot, gift shop, museum and food area, I began to think about how a child with autism may feel overwhelmed at baseball game or any kind of event in a crowded public area that families may wish to attend over the summer.
Every parent's nightmare is losing their child in a busy, crowded place, but when a parent has a child with autism, who may have impaired communication and erratic behavior, this threat is even more serious.
Fortunately, there are so many options available for parents to use to keep their children safe in case they go missing in a crowded place. These tools can also be used to educate others about autism in case bystanders may begin to question the child’s behavior: It's hard enough to support a child experiencing sensory overload without handling comments from others who don't understand autism. The following websites offer resources for parents to support parents getting their family out in the community to enjoy different activities all summer long:
Autism ID Card: Information for first responders. The Autism ID Card helps people on the autism spectrum explain their medical condition to Police, EMTs, and other first responders in the event of an emergency. Online order form available.
Medical ID Bracelets for Boys and Girls with Autism: Autism ID bracelets identify the child's condition and will help an authority figure correctly handle assisting the child with locating his or her parent or guardian. Contact information can also be included on autism bracelets to help authority figures locate a child's parent or caretaker and their doctor if necessary.
Hands in Autism Autism Info Card: Most families of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have times in public settings when the individual with an ASD is engaging in negative behaviors. Some families like to take those opportunities to educate the people around them about ASDs. The Autism Information Cards are designed to fit into a wallet so they can be taken anywhere. The cards can then be passed out to various people in the community when a family member feels it is important and/or appropriate to provide the community members with a better understanding of autism spectrum disorders. Oftentimes, these situations will arise when the family is addressing behavior difficulties in a public place and feel that other people are watching and/or judging them. Free download.
Wishing everyone a happy and safe summer!
Dr. Frances Victory received her PhD in Developmental Psychology at CUNY Graduate Center in New York City. Her thesis was titled, "Exploring the Role of Perceived Religiosity on Daily Life, Coping, and Parenting for Jewish Parents of Children with Autism." You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org