Thanksgiving – A Time for Reflection and Thanks

There’s a chill in the air and the trees are almost bare.  Here in New England that’s a clear sign that fall is upon us and soon the Thanksgiving holiday will be here.  Where ever you are and whatever your situation is, Thanksgiving is a perfect time to give thanks!

Personally, I’m thankful for my wonderful family, my health, my spouse, my caring co-workers, my two dogs and many many other things. I urge you to think about what you are thankful for and to let those people (and pets!) know how much you appreciate them.

As a company, we here at SafetyNet sincerely appreciate our close nit community. Our customers, followers and supporters have played a massive role in our growth and we truly appreciate and want to thank all of you.

It’s a great feeling for us when we hear about success stories like this and this, which proves our efforts to bring loved ones back home with our SafetyNet service really do work and we are in fact saving lives.

As the Thanksgiving holiday comes closer, here are some links that may be helpful to you:

Thanksgiving Travel Tips:
http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2010/11/12/dont-turkey-follow-thanksgiving-travel-tips/

Thanksgiving Cooking and Safety Tips:
http://www.catalogs.com/info/kitchen/thanksgiving-cooking-tips.html

http://www.safetyathome.com/seasonal-safety/holiday-safety-articles/thanksgiving-cooking-tips-serving-up-a-side-of-safety/

 

Thanksgiving Events – Family and Black Friday:
http://www.fchornet.com/2.2211/a-beginners-guide-to-shopping-black-friday-1.2704947#.TsaEiGPfdWA

http://www.wafb.com/story/16074437/best-buys-worst-buys-on-black-friday-2011

http://dfw.cbslocal.com/guide/family-guide-to-thanksgiving-volunteering/

http://fatherhoodchannel.com/2010/10/29/thanksgiving-family-survival-guide-2010/

Thank you for reading and we look forward to a prosperous 2012 and beyond.

Stay safe!

Jason at SafetyNet

The Benefits of Radio Frequency Technology for Finding People Who Wander

By Jennifer Morrissey
Customer Care Specialist, SafetyNet

When I attend conferences and events, I’m lucky enough to meet a lot of parents and caregivers. And it is safe to say that a lot of people don’t know what Radio Frequency is. It is also safe to say that I didn’t know much about it before I joined SafetyNet.

I feel it is important for me to say right away that each family needs to find a system that works for them, whether it’s RF, cellular or GPS. Eloping or wandering is a serious issue that affects those with cognitive conditions such as autism, Alzheimer’s, dementia, Down syndrome, brain injuries and other serious conditions. And while the families have already prepared for a wandering incident by using special locks around the house on doors and windows, alarms and fences – sometimes it is just not enough. I have heard many parents of children with autism describe their son or daughter as “Houdini.” No matter what lengths they have taken, their child is still able to get out.

It is when your loved one gets out of the safe, secure area of your home that the SafetyNet™ Service comes into play. Once you realize he is missing, you will undoubtedly call 911 about this emergency. Since law enforcement is going to do the search anyway, you may want to add the SafetyNet Service to the tool box and help bring your loved one home sooner. The average missing person search is roughly nine hours. Nowadays, you don’t have to go very far to read a story in the news or on Facebook about someone missing overnight or even for days. And with the cold weather coming, every minute counts. The SafetyNet Service could bring them home within minutes.

Now on to why I feel RF is the best locating device for a missing person.

Radio Frequency is not obstructed by concrete. Not steel. Not densely wooded areas. And, it can work in shallow water.

How many times have you had a dropped call on your cell phone? Or maybe you can’t even make cell phone calls from inside your own home or office. Sometimes your cell phone will be in a “dead zone” where you may get a “No Service” message. Basically, you need to be near cell towers in order to use a cell phone. So if you find yourself in an area where there is too much distance between the towers or no towers at all (usually in remote areas), the phone won’t be able to find a signal and therefore you’ll get “No Service.” Essentially, your loved one could be wearing a cellular device and end up somewhere without service and the signal would not get picked up.

Last week, I was using the GPS in my car and when I pulled into an underground garage, it stopped working. The reason for that is because the GPS unit needs a direct line of sight to the sky andsatellite from which it is getting the directions. Because I went into an underground structure made of concrete, the GPS could not communicate with the satellite and lost contact.

Two weeks ago, SafetyNet was used to find a missing teen with autism. The police found him within minutes in an underground subway system of Boston. Radio Frequency was able to penetrate through the subway system and onto land, where officers with the MBTA Police were able to pick up a signal using SafetyNet’s equipment and head to the location of the missing boy. You can read more about that story on BostonHerald.com.

I also mention to parents and caregivers that the equipment that public safety officers use can pick up the RF signal in the SafetyNet bracelet up to one mile on the ground and up to 7 miles in the air. SafetyNet equipment has been used multiple times by aviation units to find a missing person, including this past week in Philadelphia – http://www.metro.us/philadelphia/local/article/975850–police-missing-man-located-with-safetynet-technology.

The last thing I talk about has nothing to do with RF, but I find it incredibly important. During the training that public safety gets from SafetyNet officials, they not only learn about using the equipment but also on how to approach and interact with someone who has a cognitive condition. We here at SafetyNet take the time to learn about your loved one during the enrollment process so that we can share that information in a secure database with public safety agencies. That way, they have a sense of who your son, daughter, mother, father or loved one is before they even reach the scene. Is your son afraid of dogs? Does your father walk with a cane?

The SafetyNet Service uses tried and true RF technology. That along with trained law enforcement, you can feel good about your loved one on the SafetyNet service. Enroll before the end of September by October 15, 2011 and get waived enrollment and six months free.

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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.


iPads used to help Florida preschool children with autism

A Ft. Lauderdale preschool program for children with autism has raised enough money to buy an iPad for each of its 18 classrooms.

As United Press International reports, the tablets are loaded with applications such as Proloquo2Go, a communication app that allows users to select phrases and words to make sentences.

The school raised the money for the iPads in an “18 iPads in 18 Days” donation initiative.The Baudhuin Preschool, located at the Mailmen Segal Institue at Nova Southeastern University, specializes in teaching children with autism spectrum disorders with programs designed for pre-kindergarten students.

The school teaches about 150 students through a contract with the Broward County Board of Education.

via Faster Forward – iPads used to help children with autism.

Alzheimer’s Disease: iPhone apps for caregivers

Alzheimer’s caregivers with iPhones or iPads should check out the iTunes App Store, where there are several Alzheimer’s-related applications. Among them, an app that identifies everyday objects to spark memories in dementia patients and an app that uses animation to explain brain function and anatomy to caregivers.

There are several iPhone apps that help individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and their carers. Alzheimer’s Cards is an Alzheimer’s iPhone app that displays images of foods and objects. iAlz Pro is an Alzheimer’s disease assessment app.

via Useful Alzheimer’s iPhone Apps for Seniors and Carers.

Neurology: Alzheimer’s Disease: An Overview Medical Animation from Focus Medica for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store.

The Fight Against Autism Goes High Tech

From iPods to robots to avatars, people with autism are increasingly taking advantage of cutting-edge technologies to improve their social skills and, in the process, break the isolation of their condition.

“We use them as a bridge to develop communication skills people with autism don’t have, like social referencing [for example, making eye contact],” explained Katharina Boser, president of Individual Differences in Learning of Howard County, Maryland, and co-chair of the Innovative Technology for Autism (ITA) committee at one of the nation’s leading autism advocacy groups, Autism Speaks. “There are a range of devices that can support people at different levels,” she said.

via The Fight Against Autism Goes High Tech.

Sketch-A-Space!: Autism Google Sketch Up Contest with Easter Seals

Here’s a great contest for families and people living with autism.

As the leading nonprofit provider of autism services, Easter Seals has teamed up with Google to launch Sketch-A-Space, an online design contest for people living with autism, their family and friends to create the room of their dreams using free Google SketchUp 3-D modeling software – all for the chance to win $2,000 to make that space become a reality. Entries can be submitted at www.easterseals.com/sketchaspace between April 26, 2010 and July 16, 2010.

Winners will be announced early Fall 2010.“A partnership between Google SketchUp and Easter Seals to launch this contest makes perfect sense,” says Tom Wyman, manager of business development at Google. “Not only is it a wonderful tool for individuals with autism to express themselves, it’s a great way for entrants to share their creative ideas for what makes a comfortable and safe space, whether it be a bedroom, family room, classroom or office.”

“When it comes to living with autism, a person’s physical space and environment can be particularly important. Many individuals with autism report increased sensitivity to sounds, smells, tactile and visual stimuli – unique needs to be addressed,” says Dr. Paula Pompa-Craven, autism expert at Easter Seals Southern California. “It’s critical for families living with autism and professionals to begin to see environments through the eyes of a person living with autism and work together to find flexible, personalized solutions.”

via EASTER SEALS, GOOGLE LAUNCH ‘SKETCH-A-SPACE’ CONTEST | TECHNOLOGY.

iPod technology helping autistic students

Here’s a story about a Nova Scotia school district that’s providing disabled students, including non-verbal autistic children, with iPods. Each student’s iPod Touch can be loaded with apps suitable for his or her needs.

LUNENBURG – Early in 2009 the South Shore Regional School Board’s SSRSB Assistive Technology AT Centre introduced the iPod touch to their programming as a method of providing engaging and portable opportunities of inclusion to students with disabilities who live in the area.

Now, a year later, over 50 students from schools across the district have had both their scholastic and personal lives changed for the better as a result of the technology.

AT specialist Barbara Welsford says iPods are multi-functional devices that can be programmed with applications, or apps, which are specific to each student’s individual needs. “It’s all app specific and that’s the neat thing. It’s a hand-held, multi-functional device,” she explains. “The teachers are saying they are able to better communicate with students and from our perspective … it’s a motivational device which offers rewards and social supports.”

via Off-the-shelf technology helping disabled students.

Technology helps family with autistic sons

Here’s an article about three brothers with autism who have been helped by technology — one who uses computers, one who communicates via PowerPoint slides and one who communicates with an iPod Touch.

Cathy and Bob Strybel, of Orland Park, want to get their three sons out into the world.

“We want to help them find their way,” Cathy Strybel said. “If technology helps them, we’re going to support them the best we can.”

The Strybels have three autistic sons, Patrick, 15, a freshman at Andrew High School in Tinley Park; Danny, 13, a seventh-grader at Jerling Junior High in Orland Park; and Matt, 10, a fifth-grader at Liberty School in Orland Park.

All three boys followed different paths to the diagnosis of autism and Cathy Strybel said the widely accepted genetic markers of autism are not yet found in her boys. She said they would be considered high functioning on the spectrum.

Technology has certainly helped the Strybels.

via Technology helps Orland family with autistic sons :: The SouthtownStar :: News.