Raising a child is a challenge. Raising a child with an illness or disability such as autism is a journey with unprecedented struggles along the way. MedicAlert has a program designed to protect children with autism.
(NAPS)–Raising a child is a challenge. Raising a child with
an illness or disability such as autism is a journey with unprecedented struggles
along the way.
According to the Autism Society of America (ASA), autism is
a complex developmental disability that affects a person’s ability to
communicate and interact with others. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports
that autism affects one in 150 children, with a higher concentration among male
children, where one in 94 boys are affected.
Autism Speaks, a nonprofit organization devoted to autism, indicates
that autistic children may have impaired communication, social and cognitive
skills, very rigid routines and repetitive behaviors.
Since autism affects individual children to unpredictable
degrees, there is no textbook method when it comes to caring for an autistic child.
The ASA advises parents that it is important to be flexible and open-minded to
treatment options, changing paths when need be. Methods for caring for an autistic child should be
adapted to the individual child’s strengths, weaknesses and needs.
Parents should create a safe and nurturing environment for their
child, assisting the child during difficult times with positive reinforcement.
There are many resources for parents to help them provide
care for a child with autism. The ASA can equip parents of newly diagnosed autistic
children with the tools and information they need to treat the condition.
Autistic children need to learn how to respond during a
medical emergency. Many children are either too young or lack the ability to
properly articulate their needs, especially during an urgent medical situation.
“Parents need to ensure that their child’s personal medical
information is available in an emergency situation,” says Martin Kabat, Ph.D.,
president and CEO of MedicAlert Foundation International. “This will give them
comfort and peace of mind, knowing that their child’s health will not be
endangered due to insufficient information when it is needed most.”
One of the tools available to parents that can help protect
autistic children in an emergency is the MedicAlert Kid Smart program.
MedicAlert, a nonprofit foundation, has been managing and
communicating critical medical information on behalf of its millions of members
since 1956. The MedicAlert
Kid Smart program ensures that children’s medical records
are immediately available to emergency responders to help with their treatment
MedicAlert’s 24-hour emergency response personnel also help
identify children who are involved in emergencies or lost and notify designated
family members and caregivers of the situation.
When enrolled in the program, children are provided with one
of MedicAlert’s personalized identification jewelry designed just for children
and engraved with a membership number, medical condition(s) and the
foundation’s 24-hour toll-free hotline.
Children with autism have the tendency to act on impulse and
may wander away from their caretakers, making identification and family
notification critical when a child is found.
Robyn Olson, whose son Ryan has autism, recounts that, “Ryan
doesn’t comprehend the danger he’s in when he wanders off. We enrolled Ryan in
the MedicAlert Kid Smart program after the first time he got lost, which had us
worried for hours as to where he might be. Now, with MedicAlert, we know we’re
going to be contacted, usually within minutes.
That’s a huge comfort to me.”
Parents should take advice from the ASA in remembering that
in an emergency situation involving the health of their child, it is important
to remain calm. Children have the ability to sense and copy your emotional
state. There is no reason to make them worry. It is more beneficial to teach
them how to calmly respond to a given situation.
The Parent Teacher Association (PTA) has joined with
MedicAlert to bring about awareness of the Kid Smart program that underscores the
importance in the safety and wellness of all children across the country. For
more information about autism and other children’s conditions, visit www.medicalert.org/kidsmart.
Did You Know?
Autism affects a person’s ability to communicate and
interact with others. It’s estimated that it affects one in 150 children.
A program has been created to help protect children with
autism. Children enrolled in the program are provided with personalized
identification jewelry designed just for children and engraved with a
membership number, medical condition(s) and a 24-hour toll-free hotline. Learn more at www.medicalert.org.
MedicAlert Foundation pioneered
the first personal health record and medical identification service in 1956 as
a way to provide people with a simple but effective method for communicating
their medical conditions. MedicAlert bracelets and pendants alert emergency
personnel to a member’s primary health conditions. MedicAlert’s 24-hour
emergency response service also provides family notification so that members
can be reunited with their families. For more information visit www.medicalert.org.
Richard “RJ” Jaramillo, is the Founder of SingleDad.com,
a website and social media resource dedicated to single parenting and specifically for the newly divorced, re-married, widowed and single Father with children.
RJ is self employed, entrepreneur living in San Diego and a father of three children. The mission of SingleDad is to help the community of Single Parents
“Make Life Happen…Again!”