Flamingos raise money for autism and Alzheimer’s wandering program in Massachusetts

Flamingos will soon be flocking at locations around town as the Plymouth Networking Group and Sunrise Rotary Club of Plymouth team up to raise money to assist families who cannot afford to participate in a new search and rescue program for those at risk of wandering.

Nothing’s more frightening than the thought of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, autism or other condition wandering away, according to local nurse Connie Hinds, a member of both the networking and Rotary clubs.

The groups plan to flock a few select locations to help increase public awareness of the new SafetyNet tracking program soon to be offered locally. Hinds said both groups share an interest in protecting local seniors. They suspect that bright pink flamingos on laws will help bring attention to the search and rescue program.

“We want to increase public awareness of the program and have fun, too,” she said. “Flamingos can’t help but get a lot of attention.”

SafetyNet outfits seniors with a personal locator unit worn on the wrist or ankle. If a loved one goes missing, Hinds said, local law enforcement and public safety agencies trained and certified on search and rescue procedures will use SafetyNet search and rescue receivers to track the radio frequency from the locator.

via Flamingos for fun and funds – Plymouth, MA – Wicked Local Plymouth.

Autism Summer: Inclusion’s the game at Camp Shriver in Boston

Some autism summer camps are for autistic children only. Some, like Camp Shriver in Boston, mix kids with and without autism and other disabilities.

Forty-plus years ago, the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver started an inclusive camp in her backyard. It grew into the Special Olympics!

At Camp Shriver everyone fits in – even the Kennedys .

“Everyone treats us the same,” said Kyra Kennedy, 14, the granddaughter of Robert F. and daughter of Robert F. Jr. “It was nice.”

Kyra was one of three Kennedy family offspring working this summer at the sports camp at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, a spinoff of the one started in 1962 by Kennedy’s great-aunt Eunice Kennedy Shriver, to serve children both with and without disabilities. Eunice and Francesca “Chessy” Shriver, Eunice Shiver’s granddaughters, also spent their July on the Boston campus.

via Inclusion’s the game at Shriver camp – BostonHerald.com.

Clara Park, autism mother and groundbreaking author, dies

Clara Park, an important voice in the history of autism awareness and understanding, has died in Massachusetts at 86. In 1968, Park’s first autism narrative, “The Siege,” challenged the conventional wisdom of the day — that autism was caused by mothers’ treatment of their children. “The Siege” told the story of raising her autistic daughter and earned Park international acclaim. Two later books continued the story. Park was also a senior lecturer at Williams College, where President Adam Falk remembered her in a post on a college blog. (Here’s a Boston Globe story on Jessica Park, Clara Park’s autistic daughter, an artist and Williams mailroom employee.)

WILLIAMSTOWN — One-hundred and thirty-four families with autistic children in the Berkshires work with Community Resources for People with Autism, and the Center for Disease Control estimates that one in 110 children have the disorder nationwide.

But before there were support centers or even readily available statistics about autism, there was Clara Park’s 1968 book “The Siege,” a canonical narrative about raising an autistic child. The work helped pave the way for the compassionate understanding of the disorder that advocates are still forging today.

Park died in Williamstown on Saturday and will be buried at the Williams College Cemetery this morning. She was 86.

In 1968, Park published “The Siege” about raising her young autistic daughter, Jessica Park. She then released a second edition in 1982 that updated the story of Jessica, who was by then a young woman who had achieved a reputation as an artist, a friend to many, and a longtime employee in the Williams College mailroom. “The Siege” was translated into numerous languages. In 2001, Clara penned “Exiting Nirvana: A Daughter’s Life with Autism,” which contained a foreword written by Oliver Sacks, the noted physician and best-selling author.

via Author raised awareness of autism – Berkshire Eagle Online.

SafetyNet available in Marshfield, Mass., to find people with autism, Alzheimer’s who wander

Marshfield —With training having been completed June 22, the Marshfield Police Department has officially added Safety Net to its public safety arsenal.

The program, which has been implemented by police and fire departments nationwide, will provide Marshfield officials the tools they need to swiftly track down and rescue those who have wandered from their caregivers.

“People who want to sign up can go online with Safety Net or come here,” said veteran Marshfield police officer Ralph Poland, who on a recent afternoon behind the police station learned first-hand — along with several other officers and firefighters — how to use the advanced tracking equipment.

Poland, who is helping to implement the program, said police and fire officials know that it only takes a moment for a resident with Alzheimer’s disease, autism or any other condition that may predispose them to do so to wander off or disappear. In North America alone, according to Safety Net figures, more than 5.8 million people have Alzheimer’s disease, and the majority may have a tendency to wander.

via Police, fire officers complete SafetyNet training – Marshfield, MA – Marshfield Mariner.

Boy with autism, Down syndrome will throw first pitch at Red Sox game

A Maine boy with autism and Down syndrome will throw out the first pitch at Fenway Park in Boston Tuesday, disability awareness night. Go Jackson! (And go Red Sox!)

Jackson Hickey will be on the mound Tuesday night at Fenway Park, not as a replacement for the battered Red Sox staff but to throw out the first pitch.

The 11-year-old from West Gardiner will be center stage on disability awareness night prior to Boston’s game against Tampa Bay. Jackson’s mother, Jayne, entered her son’s name into a contest promoted by Exceptional Parents Magazine and got a response within 24 hours.

“I filled out (a form) and I saw the Red Sox were an option,” she said. “I said ‘I’d really like to make his dream come true.’ ”

The magazine honors a special family each year and selected the Hickeys for their compelling story.

via West Gardiner boy to throw out 1st pitch at Fenway | The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME.