Autism: Water instruction for autistic kids in Florida

Like many autistic children, Ethan John loves the water — and that’s both a good and bad thing.If there’s water around, the 7-year-old will head right to it, even if there’s nobody watching him.

“Everything else is so chaotic for him, but being in a pool or the ocean relaxes him,” says his mother, Koren McKenzie-John, of Tamarac. “We can’t take our eyes off of him for a second.

“Because of children like Ethan, water safety instruction is crucial in South Florida. And, in fact, experts say South Florida offers the most-advanced programs to teach autistic children how to swim. Instructors here must go through an extra layer of certification to work with special-needs children. And kids are matched with qualified instructors through Broward and Palm Beach county water-safety agencies.

“It’s a great model, the best in the country,” says Jack Scott, executive director of the Florida Atlantic University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities. “Florida is trying to teach them water safety rather than have instructors who just throw up their hands and say, ‘They can’t do it.’ ”

via Autism: Water instruction for autistic kids – South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com.

SafetyNet now available in Boston to help protect people with autism, Alzheimer’s who wander

SafetyNet announced at a press conference that its SafetyNet service is now available in the city of Boston. SafetyNet helps caregivers provide an added layer of protection for loved ones with cognitive conditions such as autism and Alzheimer’s from the life-threatening behavior of wandering. The service also provides public safety agencies with the tools and training to more effectively find and rescue those individuals if they wander and go missing.

The Boston Police Department has been trained and certified on the SafetyNet service, as well as equipped with search and rescue equipment. The department can now use the SafetyNet service to find and rescue people at risk who go missing. SafetyNet eliminates the countless man-hours that can be required in traditional search and rescue operations.

“In Massachusetts, statistics show that there are approximately 10,000 school aged children with autism and an estimated 120,000 people with Alzheimer’s. We’re very proud to offer this service, which can provide caregivers with additional peace of mind about protecting their loved ones,” said Kathy Kelleher, Vice President, SafetyNet. “Boston joins the growing list of Massachusetts communities that now offer the SafetyNet service. SafetyNet has already rescued residents in other parts of the state—and country, including the dramatic rescue of an 8-year-old boy in Quincy, Mass. who had wandered into the ocean and was rescued by local police in just 14 minutes using SafetyNet’s tracking equipment.”

To bring this valuable service to Boston, SafetyNet worked closely with the Boston Police Department. SafetyNet provided 14 sets of electronic tracking systems to Boston police. In addition, SafetyNet officials and industry experts provided certified training for police officers in each of the 11 districts located in Boston on the use of its specialized equipment to find and rescue individual clients enrolled in the service. The Search and Rescue Receivers, certified training and ongoing support are provided at no cost to the Boston Police Department or taxpayers.

How SafetyNet Works

Once caregivers enroll their loved ones in the service, they receive a SafetyNet Bracelet, which is worn by the person at risk typically on their wrist or ankle. The caregiver provides information about the client to assist in search and rescue, which is then entered into a secure database. SafetyNet provides 24×7 emergency caregiver support.

The SafetyNet Bracelet constantly emits a Radio Frequency signal. Radio Frequency is the technology of choice because, unlike cellular and GPS technology, its signal doesn’t rely on cellular networks or satellite signals and can often be tracked when a client wanders into a shallow body of water, a densely wooded area, a concrete structure such as a garage, or a building constructed with steel.

The Search and Rescue Receivers used by public safety agencies can detect the Radio Frequency signal emitted from a SafetyNet Bracelet typically within a range of approximately one mile in on-the-ground searches and 5-7 miles in searches by helicopter.

The SafetyNet certified training for public safety agencies focuses on its specialized electronic equipment, technology, procedures and on how to effectively communicate with and approach individuals who have cognitive conditions. SafetyNet’s secure database contains information on each individual client enrolled in the service so that the search and rescue team can have information on the individual’s personal habits and how he or she should be approached, spoken to and comforted.

Resources for Caregivers

SafetyNet offers SafetyNetSource, an online information and resource center designed to assist caregivers seeking tips on how to protect their loved ones who wander. SafetyNetSource offers compelling content from across the web, access to the SafetyNetSource Twitter feed and YouTube channel, a Facebook page to help caregivers communicate with one another and engage in a community of support, plus a variety of valuable resources for caregivers such as a form to distribute to the local first responders and neighbors that may be helpful in the event their loved one wanders.

Availability & More Information

For more information about SafetyNet, please call (877) 4-FINDTHEM (877-434-6384) or visit safetynettracking.com

via New Service That Helps Police Find and Rescue People Who Wander Now Available… — BOSTON,  Jan. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ –.

Florida man with dementia wanders, found with SafetyNet

Robert Monroe is 68 years old. He has had brain surgery and now suffers from dementia-like symptoms. On Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m., he left his house in the Sullivan Ranch neighborhood of Mount Dora, Lake County. But his normal walk turned out to be anything but for whatever reason.

Monroe just kept walking and walking and walking. In 5.5 hours, he walked 9.5 miles. He wound up at the J&M Convenience Store in Apopka off of Highway 441.

Store owner Julio Garcia immediately gave Monroe water for his apparent signs of dehydration.

“I asked him where he comes from. He didn’t know. I asked him where he slept last night. He didn’t know. I asked him where he was going. He said he was going to Orlando. I asked how he could go to Orlando on a highway like 441,” remembers Garcia.

Little did Garcia know that the Lake County Sheriff’s Office was just minutes from rescuing Monroe from his wandering walk. All thanks to a little gadget called the SafetyNet Bracelet.

Knowing that he was wearing the bracelet, Monroe’s wife had called the Sheriff’s Office to report him missing. In turn, they powered up a bunch of receivers in a helicopter and patrol cars that use radio frequency that can communicate with Monroe’s bracelet. Once they got a general idea of where he was, they got more specific pings with a hand-held receiver.

“Sometimes you might look for someone who does not have this equipment, doesn’t have a transmitter, it might be days before you locate the person,” says Sgt. Karen Lovelace of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

SafetyNet available in Hillsborough County, Florida

SafetyNet is now available in Hillsborough County, Florida, to help find people with autism, Alzheimer’s disease, Down syndrome and other cognitive conditions who wander.

The same technology used to track animals and cars is now being used to track people.

The Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office uses the technology and says it will save lives.

Sergeant Jeff Massaro listens for a beep because that sound will lead him to a missing person.

“Those old shows where they were tracking migratory patterns of animals, this is the technology,” Massaro said.

While the radio frequency technology is old, it is now being used to find people.Massaro says people with dementia, alzheimer’s, and children that are autistic can benefit from the technology.

via Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office says technology using radio frequency finds people that wander..

Coventry, R.I., using SafetyNet to find missing people

Coventry is the latest community to begin using SafetyNet technology to track down missing people.

On Tuesday, the Coventry Fire Department demonstrated the new SafetyNet system.

Designed for people with Alzhheimer’s Disease, autism, or other cognitive disorders, the SafetyNet system comes with a transmitter that the patient wears on their wrist. If the person goes missing, the fire department can usually locate them within a matter of minutes.

via Coventry using SafetyNet technology to find missing people | WPRI.com.

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month: SafetyNet expert provides tips to help protect loved ones with Alzheimer’s from wandering

Currently, an estimated 5.3 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s and, according to Maria Shriver, 10 million women are affected by the disease—either as patients or caregivers.

Recognizing the enormity of this issue, SafetyNet is a service that enables public safety agencies to search for and rescue people with Alzheimer’s and other conditions who wander and become lost – a common, yet life-threatening issue.

SafetyNet Law Enforcement Director Scott Martin has these valuable tips to help keep Alzheimer’s patients safe and offer peace of mind to caregivers.

PROVIDE INFORMATION TO HELP WITH SEARCH AND RESCUE:

* Advise Local Responders First – Fill out a 9-1-1 Disability Indicator form and submit it to your local public safety agency. The information on the form alerts public safety that a person residing at that address may require special assistance during an emergency. Also, fill out a more detailed handout with this information that you can provide to first responders and search and rescue personnel in the event of a wandering incident.

* Inform Your Neighbors– Give your neighbors a similar handout with a picture of the person you are caring for, physical characteristics and emergency contact information. You may want to describe the person’s fears, habits and explain how to best communicate with and calm them. Ask them to contact you immediately if they see this person wandering outside their home.

* Tag Personal Items – List emergency contact information on tags in shoes and on clothing in case your loved one does wander and become lost.

SAFEGUARD THE LIVING SPACE – INSIDE AND OUT

* Hide Triggers that Might Encourage Departure – Remove items such as hats, coats, boots, scarves, keys and suitcases that may prompt your loved one to go outside.

* Hang a “Do Not Enter” Sign on the Door – This sign may help redirect and discourage a person with Alzheimer’s from opening the door.

* Install a Fence Around Your Property – Set latches on the outside of gates and make sure they are in an area where the person you are caring for can’t reach them.

* Use Simple Monitors, Remote Alerts and Locks – Attach a monitor to the door that detects when it opens; use a caregiver chime alert unit, which sounds when the door is open; combine these with locks on all doors including front, garage and basement.

REGISTER AND/OR ENROLL IN PROGRAMS THAT PROMOTE A SAFE RESCUE

* Register Your Loved One’s Information – With information registered in a secure database, such as the National Silver Alert Program, emergency responders are provided with critical information necessary in the event of a wandering incident or a medical emergency.

* Consider an Identification Bracelet – An ID bracelet, like the one offered through the Alzheimer’s Association’s MedicAlert + Safe Return program, helps the police or a Good Samaritan get a missing person back home safely or medical attention.

* Consider a Program that Offers a Personal Tracking Device – Programs that feature Radio Frequency (RF)-based personal tracking devices, such as SafetyNet, are an excellent source of peace of mind for caregivers and help protect and locate someone in the event they do wander and go missing. An RF device is ideal for people at risk of wandering because, unlike a GPS or cellular device, it has strong signals that can penetrate buildings, garages, water, dense foliage and steel structures.

via November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month: SafetyNet Expert Provides Tips… — WESTWOOD, Mass., Nov. 2, 2010 /PRNewswire/ –.

Florida man with Alzheimer’s wanders, rescued by deputies using SafetyNet System

Sheriff’s deputies in Hillsborough County, Florida, used SafetyNet to rescue a wandering man with Alzheimer’s disease in just 35 minutes this week.

The 75-year-old man’s wife called 911 when she realized her husband had gone missing during a walk and informed a dispatcher that her husband was enrolled in the SafetyNet service.

SafetyNet enables public safety agencies to more quickly find and rescue individuals with cognitive conditions who are prone to wandering and becoming lost. Clients wear bracelets that emit Radio Frequency signals that can be tracked by local public safety officials.

During Monday’s rescue, ground and air units picked up a signal from the man’s SafetyNet bracelet. He was found  unharmed walking several blocks from home.

The SafetyNet service, which has been available to Hillsborough County resident since September 2009, provides peace of mind to caregivers of people at risk of wandering by using the most effective technology available today for public safety agencies.

Police study wandering of Alzheimer’s, dementia patients for search and rescue

Steven Williams, a San Francisco firefighter who lives in Oakland, Calif., had just finished a 24-hour shift when he returned home and told his mother’s caretaker she could take the rest of the day off.

His 88-year-old mother, Katherine Oppenheimer, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and requires constant supervision. Still, Williams thought he could get away with a 15-minute nap.

He awoke to find that she had wandered out of the home. “It was one of the scariest experiences I’ve ever had,” he said. “I would rather run into a burning building than go through that again.”

This time, Williams’ harrowing moment ended well. He found his mother quickly, a few floors up in the same apartment building where she lives. But like a growing number of families coping with the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease, he fears a repeat episode.

In 1980, about 2.8 million Americans had Alzheimer’s disease – the most common form of dementia. But with longer life expectancies and advanced treatment for other diseases such as cancer, that figure has nearly doubled in 2010, to 5.3 million, according to Elizabeth Edgerly, a chief program officer with the Alzheimer’s Association, a national advocacy group.

In all, 42 percent of people 85 and older will get Alzheimer’s, Edgerly said.To deal with the increasing numbers, police agencies are training officers how to search for wanderers.

“The ability to recognize dementia has improved over the last 20 years,” said Rick Kovar, emergency services manager for the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office. “The science behind searching for people with Alzheimer’s has become efficient and scientific.”

via Path of dementia less of a mystery – Family – Modbee.com.

Iditarod leads autistic boy to service dog

Juke, a service dog, is trained to calm 10-year-Logan, who has autism, and to keep him from wandering. As you can read here, wandering is particularly dangerous near Logan’s Alaska’s home – thanks to the local bear population and the nearby Bering Sea.

XENIA — Logan Erickson pressed his nose against the airport window near his hometown of Unalakleet, Alaska.

The little boy with autism who hadn’t spoken in about seven years watched a family friend — Iditarod sled dog musher DeeDee Jonrowe — get on a plane with her dog, Miyagi. Jonrowe had been stuck there because of a storm.

“It was like the perfect moment,” said Logan’s oldest brother, Austen. “He was saying ‘Miyagi’ and Miyagi had just got on the plane. It was perfect. It was cute. It was just amazing to hear him say his word and hear him use his voice.”

Ten months later, the Ericksons were in Xenia on Tuesday at 4 Paws for Ability, a service dog training nonprofit organization.The family started 11 days of training so that Logan could get used to life with Juke, an 18-month-old golden Lab.

via Iditarod leads autistic boy to Xenia for service dog.

Autistic boy can bring service dog to school

A legal battle over a boy and his dog has ended, allowing an autistic second-grader to bring his service dog to school for good.

In a ruling released Aug. 24, the Fourth District Appellate Court of Illinois said the Villa Grove Community Unit School District #302, located south of Champaign-Urbana, could not keep seven-year-old Kaleb Drew from attending school with his service dog, Chewey, setting a precedent in the first known case to challenge the Illinois School Code regarding service animals in schools. The school district has now granted Kaleb and Chewey a permanent hall pass, apparently ending the year-long battle.

via Dog fight ends with hall pass.