Petition Aims to Keep Loved Ones Safe from Wandering-Related Injuries and Death

change.org

The ICD-9-CM Coordination and Maintenance Committee is considering a proposal that would create a medical diagnostic code for wandering. There is a petition available to sign and show support. Here are just a few reasons why a medical diagnostic code will help protect at-risk individuals with a history of wandering:

- Physicians are largely unaware of this issue; therefore, cannot provide prevention materials or advice. A diagnostic code will increase awareness, advice and prevention-material distribution.

– A diagnostic code will allow for data collection on the incidence of wandering, thereby increasing opportunities for prevention, education for doctors, caregivers, school administrators and staff, first responders/search personnel.

- Many nonverbal ASD individuals are unable to respond to their name when called. We feel a diagnosis code will lead to increased awareness and the development of emergency search-and-rescue response protocols.

- We believe a medical code will enhance schools’ understanding of wandering so that children with a history of wandering will be better protected. Currently, wandering is not looked at as a medical condition, but one of choice or bad behavior. This has lead to a lack of school training, prevention and emergency response. In January alone, two children with autism went missing from their schools.

- Children and adults with ASD who suddenly flee, bolt or run because of a trigger are at greater risk of restraint or seclusion. We believe a medical code will help establish safe protocols that work to eliminate triggers, thereby eliminating the need for restraint.

- We’ve seen reports of parents locking/secluding children in their rooms to keep them from wandering outside. While this is anecdotal information, we believe parents, schools and other care providers need better solutions. A medical code has enormous potential to help provide safe alternatives.

- We believe every disabled individual with a history of wandering — who is at serious risk of injury, trauma or death — should have access to safety devices and prevention materials regardless of the caregiver’s income. A medical code for wandering could potentially provide insurance coverage for those unable to afford critical protections for their children/adults.

You can visit change.org to sign the petition or to submit a personal or organizational letter.

via http://www.change.org/petitions/keep-our-loved-ones-safe-from-wandering-related-injuries-and-death-4#signatures?opt_new=t&opt_fb=t

Kaspar the Friendly Robot Helps Kids with Autism

The Dallas Morning News

The quest to understand autism and help those who have been diagnosed with it has spawned inspiring creativity. In England, researchers have created a robot, that they’ve named Kaspar that plays with kids with autism. This interactive robot gives kids with autism, who have trouble reading emotions, an extra boost by smiling, frowning and saying, “Hello, my name is Kaspar. Let’s play together.” He laughs when his sides or feet are touched, hides his face with his hands and cries out “Ouch. This hurts.” when he’s slapped too hard. One mom reported that her autistic daughter is “a lot more affectionate with her friends now and will even initiate the embrace.”

via http://dallaslifeblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2011/03/kaspar-the-friendly-robot-help.html

Parents often behind iPad and iPhone apps for children with autism

Parents of children with autism often give rave reviews to iPad, iPod and iPhone applications designed to support their kids’ special needs and help them communicate. Some of those applications, or apps, were developed by parents of children with autism or other special needs. Blogger Shannon Des Roches Rosa talked to some of those parents about the inspiration behind their work.

My son Leo the iPad enthusiast has benefitted greatly from apps developed for kids with special needs — they provide novel ways for him to communicate, play independently, and entertain himself.

I am constantly impressed by how intuitively designed these apps are, how perceptive of Leo’s needs, how they bring out his talents and encourage his learning through innovative design and interfaces.

As a former software producer, I wanted to know more about the stories behind the apps, so I contacted Lorraine Akemann of app developer hub MomsWithApps. Lorraine told me that many of Leo’s favorite apps were created by parents who wanted an app to properly support their own child’s special needs.

Several of the MomsWithApps developers agreed to allow me to share their stories here — so while this is a longer post, I hope you agree that their stories are inspiring, and worth your eyeball time.

Martin Brooks from MiasApps.com, developer of the iComm and iSpy Phonics apps.

I named my business after my daughter Mia, who has been my inspiration.

via The Personal Stories Behind Awesome Apps for Kids With Special Needs | BlogHer.


Show dog helps autistic children

He may be a top dog at the Westminster Dog Show in New York in February, but Wyatt is already a winner in the hearts of kids with special needs. The Rhodesian Ridgeback with the sixth sense for kids is officially known as Ch. Rambo’s Gunfight at the OK Corral, and he is competing at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show for the second year. When she isn’t showing him, Janice Wolfe, founder of Merlin’s Kids, and breeder from Wyckoff, N.J., also works with Wyatt to help assess the individual needs of autistic children and others.

via Show dog helps special-needs children – Yahoo! News.

Family dog could aid autism therapy

Trained therapy dogs can make a big difference in the lives of some children with autism.

But they’re also expensive.

That’s why a local doctor is recommending some families look no further than their family dog for help.

Higgins the therapy dog is already a big help in Dr. Rolanda Maxim’s autism clinic at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital.

Young patients anxious about having their height and weight measured can watch Higgins do it first.

“In the company of a dog, a child will become more relaxed, more interactive, more social, less anxious,” says Dr. Rolanda Maxim, an autism specialist at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center.

Now Dr. Maxim is taking the idea one big step further.

She’s recommending select families in her practice use their own family dog to increase interaction at home.

via Family dog could aid autism therapy | ksdk.com.

Philadelphia International Auto Show Black Tie Tailgate to benefit Center for Autism Research at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

There’s a big autism research fundraiser in Philadelphia tonight – The Black Tie Tailgate at the Philadelphia International Auto Show.

For its 2011 Black Tie Tailgate, the Auto Dealers CARing for Kids Foundation has named the Center for Autism Research (CAR) at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as the event’s beneficiary. CAR is one of the largest and most comprehensive autism research centers in the world. Its goals are to identify the causes of autism spectrum disorders and develop effective treatments.

Since its establishment in 2008, CAR has had multiple breakthrough discoveries in genetics and brain imaging, culminating in over 50 published scientific papers on autism. CAR also conducts innovative treatment research, including the largest autism intervention research study ever conducted for children with autism spectrum disorders, and is also involved in community outreach and training programs designed to educate families and professionals about autism screening, diagnosis and treatment.

Chances are you know of someone living with autism as recent studies show that one in 110 children in the United States have an autism spectrum disorder. Please consider attending the 2011 Black Tie Tailgate to show your support of these possible family members, friends or neighbors as well as others who are working hard to develop impactful treatments.

via Our Cause | Philadelphia International Auto Show.

Pennsylvania autism kids’ group enjoys ‘Friendly’ visit each month

Todd Mincemoyer teasingly asked Joshua Seidel if he wanted extra honey mustard with his chicken fingers.

“No. Ketchup,” Joshua replied.

That’s typical of Friendly’s Restaurant server Mincemoyer, known to the autistic student buddies as Mr. Todd, who likes to rib the kids a little. The group is a regular for lunch the third Friday of the month.

“He serves everyone good,” said Joshua, 11, of Danville enjoying a “cotton candy” drink with a cherry on top before his lunch arrived.

Usually, the students from Danville Primary Center and Liberty-Valley Intermediate School go swimming at the Danville Area Community Center before they go to lunch at Friendly’s, but with a two-hour delay of school Friday, they skipped the swimming.

“It’s like a little celebration for us. They have been coming here for quite some time and we make sure the room is available to them. Todd has been building a great relationship with them,” Friendly’s district manager Bob Strachko said.

Parents of children enrolled in the two classes pay for their lunches, said Tami Williams, autism-support teacher at Danville Primary Center. Eleven students were there Friday, accompanied by teachers and paraprofessionals including Amy Willoughby, autism- support teacher at Liberty-Valley Intermediate School. The youngsters, from kindergarten through fifth grades, are enrolled in the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit program that pays for the swimming. The children come from districts served by the intermediate unit.

via Autism support group enjoys ‘Friendly’ visit each month » News » The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA.

Boston Conservatory program for children with autism helps music teachers, too

When Rhoda Bernard, Ed.M.’99, Ed.D.’04, heard a recording of an autistic teenager singing the National Anthem before a Red Sox game at Fenway Park this past summer, she was beaming with pride.

The girl was one of nearly 25 children with autism enrolled in the Boston Conservatory’s Students on the Autism Spectrum program where Bernard, as chair of the music education department, equips the next generation of music teachers with tools for educating all children equally.

“The best thing I can do is prepare the strongest generation of music teachers as they go off and teach in a program and create quality music education that advocates for the field,” Bernard says, noting that an outstanding music teacher can do terrific things for children, even those with autism.

via Music to Their Ears: Rhoda Bernard, Ed.M.’99, Ed.D.’04 – News Features & Releases.

Shonda Schilling hopes book raises Asperger’s awareness, compassion

While the Red Sox were in the middle of a season that would end with their second World Series title in three years, things were falling apart for Shonda Schilling.

Grant, then 7, the third of the Schillings’ four children, was out of control. She had suspected since he was a baby that something wasn’t right, but thought maybe he was acting out because the family had moved a lot or that he was no longer the youngest child or that his father, Curt Schilling, was on the road so much with the Red Sox.

When Shonda noticed that her 4-year-old, Garrison, was more mature than Grant, she knew he wasn’t just going through a phase.In late August of 2007, with the Sox playing in Chicago, Grant was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism.

via Telegram.com – An edition of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette and Sunday Telegram.

Fun activities for children with autism in new book

CHICAGO — Susan Walton’s son has autism. He was diagnosed at age 2, when she was pregnant with twins. Spontaneity, she learned, would quickly become a thing of the past, as predictability and routine became of the utmost importance.

But the mom of three was determined to keep her family’s life filled with joy.

“The biggest mistake we can make is to put family fun at a low priority,” she writes in her new book, “Coloring Outside Autism’s Lines: 50+ Activities, Adventures and Celebrations for Families with Children with Autism” Sourcebooks, $14.99. “It is easy to be consumed by the role autism forces us to play. We are caretakers, therapists, nutritionists, nurses, taxi drivers and so much more.”But for the sake of your child and your family, having fun needs to form a central part of any intervention and therapy you pursue.”

via The Republic – Fun needs to be on the checklist for a child with autism.