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AAC Apps, Service Dogs, and Life with Autism

by Ryan Tilton

Autism Wandering and The Mason Alert Through The Eyes of an Adult With Autism

 

Hello,
     I when I had written this article last week it was sparked because a little girl with autism has wandered away from home and drowned. With in one week 4 children have wandered away and lost thier lives by drowning! This is not okay! Then to make matter worse people started attacking and blaming the families for these tragic losses!!! I hope what I wrote will offer you some insight.and bring you a greater underdtanding of what wandering like.
 Today I had planned to write about autism service dogs, but in the light of yesterday’s news I decided to save that for another day. For those of you who don’t know 9 year Mikaela Lynch , who had severe autism, went missing when she wandered away from her families vacation home on mothers day. Mikaela  had sever Autism and was non verbal.. A frantic search for her was put in motion as police and many volunteers searched everywhere for little Mikaela. a video clip from a security cam of one of the neighboring vacation homes on tuesday revealed video of Mikaela running down the street naked. *Mikaela had taken off her her clothes at some point and they were found during the search* The search ended in tragedy when her body was discovered in near by cache creek early on wednesday morning. Many people are asking why she was naked or had taken off her clothes but that doesn’t surprise me. Her parents even stated when it gets hot she would take her clothes off. this is pretty common for some on the autism spectrum. This is usually due to sensory issues from the heat tightness of scratchiness of her clothes.

     My thoughts and prayers are with her mother and grieving family. This is clearly a very difficult time for the family right now and they need all the support they can get. no one should ever have to bury their child. to anyone saying her mother should have watched her better you blaming her will not bring her daughter back. she likely felt safe enough to turn her back for a moment while she did something as her daughter was caught up playing on the trampoline and to be honest i think the sheer fact that she has lost her daughter is far more punishment than she could have ever deserved. so please instead of bashing her for it offer the family your prayers and sympathies in this dark hour. Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident. in fact wandering is very common amongst individuals on the autism spectrum which is something that often has deadly consequences. The National Autism Association  Wrote

“Last November, a study released in Pediatrics showed that 49% of children with autism like Mikaela are prone to wandering, a rate four times higher than their unaffected siblings. This indicates that this is not an issue of bad parenting. From 2009 to 2011, 23% of children who died following a wandering incident were in the care of someone other than a parent. Again, this issue is happening across all settings, under various types of supervision.

The data also showed that only 50% of our parents have received advice about wandering prevention from a professional. Sadly, many in our community are unaware that wandering is even an issue.”   Link –>   http://nationalautismassociation.org/the-wrong-questions-are-being-asked-about-mikaela-lynch/

       The truth is Wandering is extremely common in both children teens and Adults with Autism, Sadly this article reveals that only about half of the families who get an autism diagnosis  are told about wandering or what to do and very few have the resources they need in this type of a situation. To make maters worse many of use on the autism spectrum love and can be drawn to water. Impaired sense of danger is also common for those of us living with autism.

       A major Issue is that most first responders don’t have the resources or the training they need to handle a case where and adult or child with autism has wandered. when those of us on the spectrum wander  we don’t often react like most people who go missing do. many times a child who goes missing they re found at a friends. with autism this is almost never the case! I wandered a lot as a child i loved to explore my environment. I was alway drawn to water. I love water I always have. for me it has always been a calming thing. I would spend hours playing in Marshes as well as in on and around river banks.  I love the smells, the sound the texture of water every thing about it is pleasing to me. I can spend hours watching as the sun reflects and bounces off of the waves. I would walk as far as i needed to get to water as a child. To this day I am still drawn to water.

          When I was a child I  wandered a lot. I loved to explore (I still do to this day). I also didn’t sleep much and would often wake very early when the sun was rising and find a way to get out side and play evenn though i was still in my Pajammas. When I would, and still sometimes do, wander I didn’t understand that i was doing anything wrong or that others didn’t know where I was. My mom reminded me recently of the first time she became aware that I struggled with understanding that people didn’t know where I was when I would wander. We were at the beach and as usual i was playing in the water. I spent many hours just laying and swimming in the wavs. at one point I ended up swimming my way down to the opposite end of the beach. I dot know how long it was before I made my way back, but on my way back i ran into my mom and her friend who were very upset. I remember mom being upset with me for wandering off and I couldn’t understand why so I said to her ” I wasn’t missing I knew exactly where I was,”   because i did know where I was and so to me if I knew then she knew where I was too. This is something I still tend to struggle with on a semi regular basis.

        Many on the autism spectrum especially those who are non verbal will not respond to their names when called. While I can only speak from my own experiences and not for every one two things that can play a roll in this are a sensory issues and fear or anxiety. I don’t alway respond to my name when called because of sensory processing issues. All the sounds tend to blend together while I’m out as i have to work to processes and recognize each sound from the others. So when people are calling or screaming my name I often will not even hear them because their voices will just bled with all of the other sounds coming in. Another factor is anxiety if I’m out and walking around and exploring  i can sometimes get spooked by people. not sure why but ever since i was little if I heard a voice i didn’t recognize calling my name I would begin to feel anxious and this might trigger me to run and hide. in addition to this if I am injured, over loaded and already scared or anxious i am more apt to hide and not respond when my name is being called. Additionally I have trouble recognizing people and faces. this is also common for people on the autism spectrum. So i might not always recognize a first responder.

              There  are many causes and reasons for wandering sometimes it is target oriented. having a strong desire to go to something or some place like a lake. to calm down when stressed. then there is fear triggered bolting. I separate this from non fear triggered bolting because the causes are separate. with fear based bolting the bolting is triggered by something that scares you like a sudden loud noise unexpected touch ect. non fear based bolting how ever can because by a strong impulse to run, or to go some place or something. For me when I wander(ed) I never purposely set out with the dicier to wander and go missing. often it will just be that I feel like going for a walk, or if it is a nice day and I am enjoying the weather that it is nice out and i just want to stay out longer.  I can sometimes go out to the store to get something but on the way back I will decide that I would like to just keep walking for a while. sometimes i want to go out and explore as well or go and sit by the river or lake and maybe wade in the water a bit. I can also fear bolt at times as well, this is most common at night time for me though, Sometimes wandering comes as a strong urge that I need to fight. there have been more then a few occasions where I will have a near over powering urge to go outside and walk or run or go somewhere.  this was something I had to fight with the other night when I could seem to get to sleep no matter how hard I tried.  Sometime this can also be the cause of me bolting in the middle of a walk. This is sometimes triggered when I see something on the other side of the street or even in the middle of the road, it is like I see what interests me and I do not processes the street or cars in between. 

         As and adult on the higher end of the autism spectrum defining a wandering situation from a general out and about situation becomes a lot more complicated. having a generally impaired sense of danger to begin with also complicates it. so how do I determine wandering for myself as an adult? one way i could do it is to  anytime I am out alone though this seems a bit restrictive. on the other hand I usually have set times distances and places I walk around. generally if i go outside it is a to do chalk b to walk nim or to go somewhere specific. so in general a wander situation for me might be anytime I stray from these set routines. Unfortunately anything can switch me from being within those set routines into a wandering situation and that makes balancing having independence and being safe.
   
        Most people can generally instinctively recognize danger especially by my age. I don’t have that instinct. for me recognizing a dangerous or potentially dangerous situation is work. I really don’t know how to explain it. I can list things that are dangerous how and why they are dangerous but when I am out and about they dont register. I can say here that water is dangerous and can lead to drowning  however if I were to go for a walk in 20 minutes and come across a nice stream i would most likely walk into it. the connection of this is water and water can be dangerous doesn’t register and wont come to mind at all. I wont take into the effect any possible under current, sharp rocks or other dangerous things that could be lurking in the water. I have had people tell me to slow down and be more aware of things. that isn’t so simple the truth is i am constantly aware of MANY things at all times. sounds, sights, smells, light, colors, textures ect. being constantly aware of potential dangers is not only very exhausting and a lot of work it is also impossible. Trying to be aware of dangers all or even most of the time is like being aware of every single step you take and the exact number of steps in a given day, week or month and never loosing count. it just isn’t possible. that is something you have to do consciously and be aware of at all times if something distracts you even for a moment you are going to loose count your brain doesn’t naturally keep track of every step you take just s mine doesn’t naturally process most dangers. Things like water also have the ability to override any conscious danger sense or inhibitions I have. It is also important to understand that in addition to have trouble processing and being aware of danger on a regular basis if I bolt in fear or become frightened while wandering the fear make it impossible to process danger. I will run into the street with on communing cars because all I can processes is that fear. The fear becomes over wheeling and over powering all I can think of is finding some place safe. Whenever I am stressed, frustrated, anxious or even over excited I become become less aware of dangers in my environment as well.

It is curtail to note that when I wonder I am not cognitively aware that I am wandering or that others don’t already know where I am. I am not trying to put myself in dangerous situations either Generally it is more often that something caught my attention or i got a desire to divert from my path to so some place else. My brain isn’t processing the dangers im just enjoying life and the world around me. *unless I fear bolt then I am hiding and trying to calm down enough to get home*

           This impaired sense of danger is also very common amongst individuals with autism and especially those of us who have a tendency to wander and those on the more severe end of autism.. These are just a few of the factors that make wandering so dangerous  Another factor is most of the time it isn’t seen for what it is a critical life or death situation and it needs to be addressed that way. Unfortunatly many officers have neither the training nor the needed resources to real with an autism wandering situation. one thing that can give the officers that information is called The Mason Alert.


               The Mason Alert was founded by Mason’s mom Sheila Medlam after 5 year old Mason died after wandering away from home after Mason’s death Sheila swore to Mason she would do what ever she could to make sure he was never forgotten and to prevent this from happening to any other family.

 Here is Mason’s story Sheila Medlam writes…..

  “When Mason was born, we just didn’t know how he would change our lives.  He was a sweet, loving baby, with a wobbly head and no muscle tone.  We grew concerned for him almost immediately, because he just seemed so fragile.  At six months old, we took him to a neurologist and received the diagnosis that would change our lives in so many unexpected ways.  Mason was autistic.

         

At the time of Mason’s diagnosis, I had a vague idea of what Autism was.  I’d seen rain man and I had a nephew who was severely autistic. I lived quite a distance from my sister, Karen and didn’t visit often. I just knew her son was different than normal.  He was delayed, and fascinating and the whole idea of being responsible for a child with this disease scared me beyond all reasoning.
In the beginning, life was full of frustration.  No one could tell us why Mason was Autistic.  No one could tell us if he would be able to sit up on his own, walk on his own, or talk on his own.  There just seemed to be this black hole of information.  All the preconceived notions we’d had about our baby boy growing up and becoming a doctor or the president, or just becoming a typical young man seemed to go down that hole.  It was almost as though one child had died and been replaced by another.  That may sound dramatic, but as soon as you get a diagnosis like we did, you have to rearrange the life plans that you had for your child.  Every thing changes and you are left in limbo, just waiting for each milestone to be met.
The first three years of Mason’s life were our “easy and fun” years.  Because Mason wasn’t very mobile, he was easy to watch.  It took a long time for Mason to learn to crawl, but when he did, man he was fast.  Then around three years of age, he took his first steps on a treadmill and from the second he realized he could walk, he ran.
Prior to him learning to walk, Mason had no real interest in being outside.  He crawled on his hands and feet and just couldn’t stand the touch of grass on his hands.  Once he began to walk though, he craved sunshine.  The only thing that gave him more pleasure than being outside was water.  He would play in the toilet, the sink, the bathtub, the dog’s water bowl, the garden hose, the baby pool.  Water brought him joy.  He would laugh and laugh as he played.  He would laugh before he even got to the water, just because he knew what was waiting for him.  He was trouble on two legs, and he was fast.
We moved to the country two years ago, and Mason got his first taste of real freedom.  We have a huge yard, chickens and horses, just lots and lots of room to run and play and he loved it. At first the only precautions we took were locking the door with the regular locks, but he quickly figured those out, so we added hotel latches to the top of every door.  Within a month he had figured out how to unlatch those with a long stick, a chair, or a broom.  We added double key locks to every door.
    Most people think Autism is this debilitating disease that robs the child who is diagnosed with it of everything that a normal child can do I look at Autism as a disease that trapped my brilliant little boy inside his head.  Although he couldn’t express himself with words, that wonderful mind never, ever stopped working and he had the problem solving skills of a rocket scientist.  If he wanted something, he figured out how to get it.  He would literally watch, without you realizing it, and if one person forgot to close the door all the way, or latch the latch, he was out the door in a blink of an eye.
Every fifteen minutes, I would ask, “Where’s Mason?”  I was hyper vigilant with him.  I  knew he had absolutely no concept of danger.  I knew he was a runner, and I knew he would be attracted to the most awful of dangers if we didn’t always know where he was.
During the five years that I had my son, I never slept more than a foot from him.  Never.  I was terrified that he would wake up in the night and some how find a way out of the house and be lost to me forever.  I couldn’t take him to a babysitters house because there weren’t any that had taken the precautions we had.  How can you explain to a daycare that the standard locks they have are not Mason proof.  How many child care providers are willing to add multiple locks to their doors and take on such a risk as a child who wanders at the first opportunity?  From personal experience, I can tell you none that I know of.
          On July 26th when the temperature reached 105 degrees our air conditioner stopped working.  Our land lord came to our home and said he would be able to fix it in a couple days.  I went to the store and bought a few fans.
          My youngest daughter, Mason and I slept in the sun room, which has a window unit in it, and I put a fan in my oldest daughter, Megan’s window.  I sat the fan on the sill and closed the window halfway over it.  I fell asleep that night holding Mason’s little hand. The next morning I got up and thought about staying home.  I was worried it would be to hot for the kids, but I decided to go for the morning and come home around noon.  I woke Megan up so she could watch the kids and left for work. At ten thirty I got a phone call that would eventually destroy my life.  My youngest daughter called and said that they couldn’t find Mason. I rushed from work, dialing 911 as I raced to my car.  I knew then that it was going to be bad.  
          A year before, when we didn’t think Mason knew how to unlock the doors, we had been in one room uploading pictures from a party we’d had.  The next thing I knew, my husband was racing out of the house after Mason.  There is a retention pond across our street with a large windmill.  Mason had never been there before in his life, but I think the windmill attracted him, and then he saw the pond.  Kenny had pulled him out when he was chest deep in the water.
From that moment on, we’d lived in fear of that pond.  Mason never, ever forgot something he wanted. 
I knew instantly that Mason had pushed the fan and screen out of my daughter’s window and gone to the pond.   I just knew.  I begged the police officer I spoke with to go to the pond.  I told him he was non verbal and had been there once before, and I called 911 twice to alert them that my son was missing and to find out if they had located him.  I work twenty five minutes from home.  I drove over a hundred miles an hour, frantically calling every neighbor, every family member, begging everyone to go to the pond.  When I turned down the street that we live on, there were police and firefighters everywhere, looking in buildings, walking through fields, yelling Mason’s name, but not one person was at the pond.
I went directly there, got out of my car and looked at the water.  The first think I saw was something pink floating in the water.  For an instant, I thought it was a piece of paper, but then I knew.  I just started screaming Mason’s name over and over as I dove in and pulled him out.  I threw him on the bank.  His lips and nose were blue and his eyes were closed.  I started CPR and all that came out of his mouth was water.
A policeman was about a hundred yards from me.  He had drove past the pond  and was headed up to a neighbor’s house.  He raced over and took over CPR.  I ran back to my car screaming, “NO, no, no, no….”  I knew then that Mason was gone forever.
They took Mason to the hospital and got his heart beating.  For a moment we had hope..  The doctors told us that there wasn’t any, but we refused to give up.  We prayed, we asked our community to pray.  We just didn’t want to let him go.  I told God that if he wanted my son, he would have to come and take him from me.  I would not take him off life support.  I didn’t care how I got him back, I just wanted him.  If that meant caring for him in any state for the rest of his life, that is what I would do.  On July 29th, God came for my son.  They tried everything to keep his heart beating, but it slowly just stopped.  At 7:29 in the morning all the light went out of my life.  My son was gone.
Unless you have a special needs child that wanders, I think it is hard for anyone to grasp the relationship that develops  between parent and child.  Mason was the center of my world.  I revolved around his needs and wants.  Our household was one big dance all designed to keep him safe.   He literally was my joy.  He was in my arms or by my side every second that I was home.  Unlike a normal, independent child, I was the center of his universe, too.  He knew I loved him, and I knew he loved me.  It was such a pleasure to watch him dance, or laugh at the wind blowing in his face.  I could sit and watch him go round in his car, stopping in front of the glass door each time to wave at himself.  He just gave me so much shear pleasure.  I couldn’t have and wouldn’t have wanted a better son.  He was fabulous.  But under all the joy was a constant fear for his safety.  I guess since he had no fear, I had a double dose of it.  He would climb to the tops of cabinets, leap off dressers and tables, and always was looking for a way out into the bigger world.
The day we lost Mason, a lot of people failed him.  I failed him by not seeing the window as an avenue of escape.  I should have known that he would be able to figure out how to get into the big, wide world through that small space.  I also was so overcome with terror and fear that I was unable to vocalize my fears in a way that would get vital information to those who needed it. I called so many people in such a small period of time that I lost track of who I had told what.  I never told 911 to go to the pond.  That would have instantly gone over the radio.  Instead I told an officer and assumed it would go out to everyone.  I also never mentioned to anyone the fact that there is a large windmill to the pond.  We later learned that the officers who did know to look for a pond were unable to locate it because it was overgrown with weeds.  If I had just mentioned the damn windmill, they would have gone right there.  I will never forgive myself for all the mistakes that I made, and I don’t even have an excuse for making those mistakes.  I will tell you that I was in a state of utter terror and despair.  I was trembling so hard my hands were bouncing off the steering wheel.  I was so desperate for Mason to be safe, and yet I failed to relay important information because I was in the grip of overwhelming panic and terror.
The next group of people to fail Mason were the first responders.  They did not know how to search for a child for Autism and they did not take my requests seriously.  They assumed that this little guy would be near by.  They didn’t think that he would have made it a quarter of a mile to a pond in such a short time.  They looked in all the wrong places in all the wrong ways.  They were shouting my son’s name.  They did not understand that a non verbal autistic child is not going to respond to his name.  They didn’t understand that an autistic child is going to be drawn to what fascinates him no matter what is in his path or what danger that fascination poses.  They didn’t communicate the right information to each other.  The officer I spoke with never went over the radio and told others to go to the pond.
The sad truth is, through my overwhelming terror and panic, I never told the right people the right thing.  I called every neighbor and friend that I could speak with and ask them to send someone to the pond.  I told the police officer to send someone to the pond, but i never told the dispatcher for 911 to send someone to the pond.  Those seventeen minutes from my work to my home were full of terror, fear and confusion.  I lost track of what I had told to whom.  Also, I failed to give a good description of the area.  There is a large windmill by the pond, but I never mentioned that to anyone. Why, you ask?  God, I wish I knew….. if only I could redo that day and just change one thing.  But, I can’t.  All I can do is stand here before you, a mother who longs for her son, who has a hole in the middle of her chest that will never go away.  All I can do is point out the mistakes I made, the mistakes others made, and the lack of resources that claimed my child’s life and ripped him from my arms forever.” -Sheila Medlam

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Link–> http://masonallenmedlamfoundation.webs.com/ourlostchildren.htm



     The Mason Alert is a special alert designed to give officers and first responders important life saving information. The Mason alert is combined with the take me home registry. you register you child or loved one with Autism and when they wander and the police are call all first responders would immediately be provided with


a current photo


adress and contact information *who to contact when they are found*


any identifying features 


it says if they a verbal or non verbal or may become non verbal 


what their fascinations are and what they are drawn to


and finally how to approach them

“We want the Mason Alert to immediately provide authorities with the following:

  • A current picture of the missing person.


  • Missing person’s address and Contact information.


  • Their fascinations: i.e. railroads, small spaces, water


  • Locations of all nearby hazards such as tracks, pools, ponds, abandoned houses, busy intersections.


  • Notify if the missing person is verbal or nonverbal.  This is very important, because when we search for someone, we tend to stand in one place and shout the person’s name.  A nonverbal missing person won’t respond to this AT ALL.  When I arrived home, the police were shouting Mason’s name.  I could have been standing right beside him, shouting his name and not gotten a response.


  • How the missing person reacts under stress.  i.e. do they hide, do they run, do they fight, do they shut down and just stand still.


  • And finally, how to approach the missing person and who needs to approach the missing person.  In some instances, authorities will just have to immediately react if the missing person is in immediate danger, but in other instances, it might be better to wait for a parent or caregiver, and taking this step might help eliminate danger.


  • The Mason Alert would be issued for those who are prone to wandering and do not have the capacity to recognize dangerous situations.  The Mason alert would be issued for anyone of any age that has diminished mental capacities and meet the above criteria.”-Sheila Medlam





While there are many different alert system out there the mason allen medal provides us with this comaprrison 

How is the Mason Alert different from the Amber Alert?
This is the criteria for the Amber Alert:
 
  •  Law enforcement must confirm that an abduction has taken place.
 
  • The child must be at risk of serious injury or death.
 
  • There must be sufficient descriptive information of child, captor, or captor’s vehicle to issue an alert The child must be 18 years old or younger.
How is the Mason Alert Different from the Silver Alert?
 This is the criteria for the Silver Alert:
 
  • Some states limit Silver Alerts to persons over the age of 65, who have been medically diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia or similar mental disability.
 
  • Other states expand Silver Alert to include all adults with mental or developmental disabilities. In general, the decision to Issue a Silver Alert is made by the law enforcement agency investigating the report of a missing person.
 
  • Public information in a Silver Alert usually consists of the name and description of the missing person and a description of the missing person’s vehicle and license plate number.
                        OUR OPINION
We strongly believe that all the current alerts that are in place are necessary, but they just do not cover the growing population of mentally impaired individuals that are prone to wandering or elopement and are unable to recognize danger in it’s many forms.  We believe that the Mason Alert covers a broader group of people and arms first responders with all of the information that they instantly need to make an educated rescue plan for these vulnerable citizens.  These are our children, our brothers and sisters, our mothers and fathers that need this protection.  We are their only voice and advocate, so it becomes our responsibility to ensure that we have done all that is humanly possible to protect them by getting the Mason Alert passed into law, educating first responders, and utilizing technologies as they come available to protect our loved ones.  I ask only that you pick up the torch no matter where you live, or even whether or not you have a family member who is in danger.  We are one in humanity and so your neighbor’s burden is also your burden to bear.  I can tell you from personal experience that the loss of someone due to wandering effects an entire community.  HELP US GET THIS DONE!
 
Thank you so much,
Sheila Medlam
 
By the way, it is important for all of you to note that there is absolutely  no protection for anyone with a cognitive disorder between the ages of 19 and 64.  Neither the Amber Alert or Silver Alert would apply.  That leaves a lot of vulnerable people defenseless since their diseases do not just disappear at 18″ – By Sheila Medlam Link–> http://masonallenmedlamfoundation.webs.com/whatisthemasonalert.htm

 

 

I truly believe that this alert should be initiated in every city, town and state as it could save countless lives. So how can you do this? here is what the Mason allen Medlam foundation suggests

Luckily, there are others out there who believe in the same things we believe in and want the same levels of protection layered around our children and adults with cognitive disorders.

 


One of those groups of people offer the TAKE ME HOME PROGRAM. I am going to tell you a little about it right now! The Take Me Home Program was started when Officer Jimmy Donohoe of the Pensacola Police Department went to an autism conference and realized what a huge issue wandering was. Officer Donohoe is the proud father of five children, one of which is on the Autism spectrum. He listened carefully to all the panicked suggestions parents made: id bracelets, leashes, alarms, ect. and thought to himself, this isn’t enough. We can do more.
He then went to the Police Software Developer in Pensacola and told his story and asked, “What can we do?” They didn’t waste any time, but instead developed a program that would act as a registry for those that are disabled with cognitive disorders, no matter what their age or disability.
The program works like this. 
If an officer finds someone wandering and determines that they have a disability and aren’t able to communicate who they are or where they are from, the officer can pull up the registry from his car, sort through photos, match a face, and then have all the information he or she needs to return the disabled person to safety.
It also works in the reverse. If your child or loved one suddenly disappears, when you call 911, all your loved one’s information is immediately available to the first responders that are going to be searching for your loved one.
We approached Officer Donohoe, because we thought that the Take Me Home Program was an incredible tool, but the registry need to ask a few more detailed questions such as what are the near by hazards, and what fascinations does your loved one have. You can get more information on the Mason Alert Questions here:What is the Mason Alert?
It didn’t take long to convince him that together we could improve an already excellent program and working together we could save more lives than working separately.
On November 10, 2010 we are going to Pensacola to meet with Officer Donohoe to implement the changes and create the “MASON ALERT TAKE ME HOME PROGRAM”.
What is incredible about this software is that it is created by a Police Software Developer, it integrates seamlessly with existing 911 systems, and IT IS ABSOLUTELY FREE TO ANY POLICE DEPARTMENT THAT REQUEST IT.
Now here is what we need you to do:
Push for this registry in your community. It has to be requested by the local Police Department because in the beginning, people were taking this free software, renaming it and selling it (disgusting).
Next, approach your legislators, congressmen, the mayor, and anyone else you can think of and demand that this be implemented nationwide. Remember, it protects all of those with cognitive disorders of any age, so this isn’t just about protecting our children and adults with autism that wander and have no fear, but protecting those with other disorders like down syndrome, and Alzheimer, so this is a huge step in the right direction to protect all of our vulnerable loved ones.
Also, it is important to remember this is still just a registry.  It will only work if parents actually register their children.  It is an excellent tool, but like all tools, it needs to be used and maintained to be of any value.

Another point that must be made is that this is not an alert.  We still have to fight for that.  Most parents believe that an Amber Alert goes into affect the second your child disappears, but that is not true. You have to meet strict guidelines in order for an Amber Alert to be enacted and the main two points of those guidelines are that the person has to be under 18 and has to have been abducted. This means that our loved ones that are prone to wander are not protected by this important notification tool and will not have the same level of awareness and same number of people actively helping us find our loved one.  As parents of children who wander, we demand the same type of alert for our children.  The more people searching, the quicker we have our babies back in our arms.

Here are some links that you might want to check out to get more information:
http://www.pensacolapolice.com/TakeMeHome.wvx
Remember, we are all a family, and together we can keep our children alive.
Sheila Medlam

 

Thank you all so much. Pass this on to everyone you know and let’s get this done!

Alone, I have one voice.  Together, we are the voice of millions and we can change the world.”

 

-Sheila Medlam, Link—>  http://masonallenmedlamfoundation.webs.com/masonalertregistry.htm  

 

      So please contact your local police and push for the Mason alert to be set up! additionally have the info provided in the mason alert on a printable document that you can hand out to volunteers should the need arise. 

 

 

 

    There are also a lot of programs like safety net and lifeprotekt  that offer tracking devices that can be used to help locate a person who has wandered. I believe these should be used in addition to the Mason alert and not be exclusionary. It is very important when someone with Autism Wanders to have s many resources available as possible to aid in finding them as fast as possible. Every second counts! Additionaly having a map of your local area with local hazards and wandering locations at home may also be helpful for first responders.

 

 

 

          -AutismDogGirl

 

 

 

 
Important Links!!!!
 
Mason Alert/ Mason Allen Medllam foundation for Autism Safety
 
Mason Alert on facebook

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mason-Alert/139687349408189?fref=ts

Mason Allen Medlam Foundation for Autism Safety facebook
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mason-Allen-Medlam-Foundation-for-Autism-Safety/152988168110549?fref=ts

Take Me Home
http://www.autism-society.org/living-with-autism/how-we-can-help/safe-and-sound/take-me-home.html

Life protekt
http://www.lifeprotekt.com/

National Autism Association
http://nationalautismassociation.org/

 

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