Plymouth County Sheriff Uses SafetyNet Service to Locate Alzheimer’s Resident Unharmed

Deputies from the Plymouth County, MA Sheriff’s department and Halifax Police successfully deployed Tuesday night to locate an elderly Halifax resident who had wandered from home, using their SafetyNet tracking equipment that allowed searchers to locate the missing man in a matter of minutes.

Local officials reported the 79-year-old man missing shortly after 5 p.m. yesterday, officials said.  Specially trained responders arrived on scene and located the man, unharmed, in a wooded area about a quarter mile from his back door.

“As soon as we arrived, we were able to pick up a strong radio signal from the SafetyNet device,” said James Muscato, Superintendent for Law Enforcement at the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department.  “We followed the signal with the tracking receiver (and) he was right there in some briars, but otherwise OK.”

Muscato said from the initial notification to finish, the rescue took only 45 minutes.

The Tuesday event was the first time public safety officials have successfully activated the SafetyNet tracking device since being implemented countywide in April 2011.

SafetyNet proud to partner with Flutie Foundation for Autism

The Eighth Annual Flutie Bowl will raise money for autism programs as ticket holders mingle with the football great and other local sports figures and celebrities at Kings in Legacy Place on Jan. 20.

Proceeds go the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism, a charity that Flutie and his wife, Laurie, established in 1998 in honor of their son Doug Jr., who was diagnosed with autism at age 3.

“The Flutie Bowl is a great event that brings together people who really care about the autism community,” said Flutie, who’s best remembered for his winning “hail Mary” pass as quarterback of the 1984 Boston College football team. “We always have a great time bowling and playing music. We encourage everyone to come out to Kings, and support autism and the foundation.

”This year’s event marks the beginning of a partnership between the foundation and SafetyNet, which makes a bracelet that enables police to track people at risk of wandering or becoming lost. SafetyNet will give the bracelets to financially strapped families with autistic children who could benefit from the device.

via Flutie Bowl at Kings to benefit autism programs – Dedham – Your Town –

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

Opportunities grow for students with autism, Down syndrome

Like many of his peers, Ben Majewski had a lifelong goal of going to college. Now, the 20-year-old who has Down syndrome and hearing problems is living out his dream despite his disability.

Majewski, a graduate of Newton North High School, is in his first semester at Massachusetts Bay Community College’s Wellesley Hills campus, taking a psychology class in career and life planning, getting tutoring, going to the gym, and making new friends.

“I got a buddy here, he has Down syndrome, he’s a veteran around here,’’ Majewski said. “He’s showing me the ropes, teaching me where everything is, and helping me meet new people.’’

Higher education used to be out of the question for students with intellectual disabilities such as Down syndrome or autism spectrum disorders, but now, there are increasing opportunities for such students to go to college in part because of a recent infusion of state and federal funds. In Massachusetts, the Inclusive Current Enrollment Initiative, a partnership between public high schools and seven community colleges that started in 2007, is helping students ages 18 to 22 with intellectual disabilities pursue higher education.

via Opportunities grow for students with disabilities – The Boston Globe.

A Massachusetts family struggles with early-onset Alzheimer’s

Bruce Vincent, just 48 years old, has Alzheimer’s disease. The Boston Globe plans to report on this Massachusetts family’s journey with early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Bruce Vincent works his way up and down the aisles of the grocery store he has owned for two decades, methodically unpacking crates of food, stocking shelves, and breaking down the empty cartons.

Midway down aisle 2, Vincent hesitates, unsure where the fudge-coated peanut butter cookies go. The redesigned package throws him, so he tucks them amid crackers on the top shelf and continues down the row.

On closer inspection, Vincent has left behind a trail of similar mismatches, which his 26-year-old son, Brian, now the boss, wearily but discreetly fixes. Used to be, the elder Vincent would gently correct the mistakes of his son, who started sweeping floors and stocking shelves at Vincent’s Country Store when he was 10 years old.

That was before Alzheimer’s disease.

via A family struggles with Alzheimer’s – The Boston Globe.

Massachusetts mother raises Down syndrome awareness

Children with Down syndrome and children without disabilities have more similarities than they have differences.

That’s the message one Taunton mother is bringing to young students, educators and the community at large.

Rebecca Volpe organized the School Buddy Campaign, a fundraising and awareness initiative at Barnum Preschool in Taunton, which ran throughout the month of October. She gave several presentations about Down syndrome at the preschool, which is attended by her five-year-old daughter, Julia, and worked with teachers and students to collect coins for the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress, a Down syndrome advocacy group.

via Taunton mother starts coin drive, raises Down syndrome awareness – Taunton, MA – The Taunton Gazette.

Boston researchers study impact of autism

Researchers at Harvard University and Mass General Hospital are conducting a study to better understand the health and financial impact of autism spectrum disorder. As part of this study, the researchers would like to interview parents of children between the ages of 3-18 years who have been diagnosed with autism, Asperger’s disorder, or pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified.

In 90 minute group interview sessions, parents will be asked questions about their child’s current wellbeing, as well as characteristics of their child that influence his or her wellbeing. They will also be asked about their own wellbeing, both physically and emotionally, and the financial costs that their family has had to bear because of their child’s autism spectrum disorder.

via Autism-PDD Message Boards: Boston, MA area research study.

Massachusetts school for autistic helps make Halloween less frightful

Autistic children may find Halloween extra stressful with its expected “Trick or Treat” communications, odd costumes and scary atmosphere. Here’s how a Boston-area school for children with autism helped kids prepare for the holiday.

Have a fun, safe night, everyone!

After ringing the front doorbell, 7-year-old Jack Carfarelli stood by silently, holding a plastic pumpkin while tugging nervously on his skeleton costume. The door opened into a darkened classroom, where a scary-looking witch knelt, candy bowl in hand.

“Happy Halloween,’’ said the witch.

Jack, a child with autism, appeared anxious yet still said nothing. Around his neck hung a small touch-screen computer. He hesitated, then activated the machine’s vocalization app to say “Trick or treat!’’ on his behalf.

via School for autistic helps make Halloween less frightful – The Boston Globe.

An autism sibling writes

Here’s a nice piece written by an autism sibling for her Massachusetts high school newspaper. As she concludes: “People with autism face enough obstacles and shouldn’t have to deal with the ignorance of people as well.”

It’s always hard to live with small children in the house, but I don’t think people really know the difficulties until they have a child or a sibling with a disability. My brother, Jakob O’Hare, is twelve years old, and he has autism. I think he was diagnosed with autism when he was three.

When you look at him, you see a normal happy kid; it’s just his mind that doesn’t move as fast as everyone else’s. It’s sometimes hard to understand what he is trying to say, but once you’re around him for a little bit, you start to catch on to how he pronounces things.

Triton Voice – Triton Regional High School – Living With Autism.

Lessons on college life and living with autism

LIKE MOST college students, the kids at the College Internship Program have spent the last few weeks gearing up for classes, meeting roommates, readying for life away from home. But on this tiny campus in the Berkshires, they’ve been getting extra help.

For instance, they take courses in “executive functioning’’ — not business techniques, but the cognitive work of decision-making and self-control. In their classroom, posters offer tips for talking to acquaintances. “Smile and say ‘hello’ to initiate a dialogue. Ask them how they are to build rapport.’’

For people with high-functioning autism and Asperger’s disorder, this is hardly intuitive stuff. And if the number of autism diagnoses has risen dramatically, so too will the number of teenagers who reach this tentative place: ready to leave the cocoon, but not quite ready for the world.

via Lessons on living with autism – The Boston Globe.