Autism Alliance of Michigan | Navigating Autism Today Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:48:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Join Us! Success Is A Spectrum Traverse City Conference Thu, 16 Jul 2015 17:17:20 +0000 0 GPS Award Program for Children with Autism Fri, 10 Jul 2015 14:56:49 +0000 Read More]]> The Autism Alliance of Michigan and the autism community at large across Michigan are sending thoughts and personal prayers for a beautiful boy with autism who has gone missing in our state.

Anne Taglione, mother of Sean, who the Autism Alliance’s ‘Sean Taglione Memorial Global Positioning System Program’ is named for, said yesterday “It can happen to anyone when you least expect it.” Sean was a 12 year old boy who was killed in a pedestrian motor vehicle accident after he had unknowingly wandered from home. The Taglione family, along with the Autism Alliance of Michigan, and supporters of the program, have made it their mission to provide GPS devices to families across the state of Michigan. The GPS Award Program online application is open and the Autism Alliance of Michigan has devices available to families who demonstrate the need for a GPS unit.

GPS is a must-have for a person with autism who wanders. A GPS provides a small measure of security to parents. If a child attempts to wander, an alert is activated before a child enters a dangerous situation. These devices are provided and monitored 24 hours per day through the Amber Alert system. Sgt. Scott Shuelke (Ret.) Safety Specialist for the Autism Alliance of Michigan reports “With nearly 50% of children with autism likely to wander from a safe environment, a GPS device allows parents and first responders to immediately start tracking the child, which we know can prevent tragedies.”

As the leading professional organization in the State of Michigan for Safety and Awareness Training for First Responders, Schools, and the Community, the Autism Alliance of Michigan has witnessed an outpouring of support for Omarian Humphrey who has been missing since Saturday. In summer months, wandering is an elevated risk with the draw of bodies of water for many children on the autism spectrum, with 91% of wandering-related deaths due to drowning (National Autism Association). We hope that the heightened awareness of wandering in Michigan currently will encourage families to take the time to introduce their family member with autism to neighbors and to their local first responders.

Anyone in the State of Michigan touched by autism, who would like to learn more about how to access our Safety and Awareness Trainings or our GPS Award Program, or how to help, can visit here.

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Ford Arts Beats and Eats Autism Family Days Registration Now Open! Click Here to Register. Mon, 06 Jul 2015 16:40:21 +0000 0 Summer Safety Tips Thu, 02 Jul 2015 15:42:24 +0000 Read More]]> School will soon be out for summer, which means your child’s daily routine will likely change.  As the autism safety specialist at The Autism Alliance of Michigan, Scott Schuelke wants every person with autism to have summer fun and adventure while staying safe.

Summer Safety Plan

Summer often introduces new day care providers, family members, or summer camp staff to help care for a person with autism. Those caregivers may be less familiar with how autism affects the care a child needs. In addition, during family vacations, travel, and visits to attractions, there will be many people who do not have a high level of autism awareness interacting with your family and your child with autism specifically.

To make sure you are ready to introduce your child to new people, develop a safety plan. The plan should include Emergency Information Contact cards for home and camp as well as placement in any vehicles in which the child may travel. Make sure each card contains current emergency contact information and a current photo of your child.  You should also consider providing a copy to your local police station, fire department, and 911 center.

A parent from Rochester, Mich., shared a great way to always have a current photo of your child. She takes a photo of her child each day with her cell phone. That way, if her child ever wanders away, she always has a current photo readily available, including the clothes her child is wearing that day.

Summer is a great time to introduce your child to your neighbors, since so many are outdoors. Talk to them about your child, and the tendency of people with autism to wander, and ask them to notify you immediately if they see your child wander from your yard.

Summer School, Day Care, or Camps

All caregivers must understand that a person with autism has a higher likelihood of wandering or unknowingly putting themselves in danger. Care providers will have to have their eyes on your child at all times. Look for a summer program that can assign a staff member to your child or to a very small group of children.  Also, babysitters should understand why extra door locks and noise-alerting alarms are installed or necessary in your home.

In addition to preparing caregivers to keep a close eye on your child, it’s also a good idea to check your home for any potential hazards that need to be taken care of in advance. Make sure to lock away all household toxins to prevent life-threatening situations.

Prepare all caregivers in your home and in other places for your child’s unique ‘meltdown’ triggers, and the calming strategies that work best for your child.

Beaches, Water Parks, and Amusement Parks

Never allow your child to be away from a trusted adult when going to the beach or water park.  Don’t hesitate to have your child wear a life preserver.  Take the time to introduce your child to the staff and lifeguards, tell them that your child has autism, and explain how to communicate with your child, and about any behaviors they should anticipate. Make sure your child knows and understands the rules to the best of his or her abilities.  Pictures or social stories can help with those rules.

 Travel Logistics

Many families travel to a summer destination. Before your trip, review the destination website of any attraction or park. Some destinations will make special accommodations for your child with autism. They may also offer a social story to help prepare your child for a new adventure.

The Detroit Zoo is an excellent example of an autism-friendly destination. All employees, including more than 1,200 volunteers, have been trained in autism awareness and safety, and a social story is available to help children with autism throughout their visit.

An airport can be a particularly difficult situation for a person with autism.  Given all of the sounds, lights, people, and hustle and bustle, there may be too much stimulation.  If you anticipate that your child may have a hard time in an airport, contact the airport authority before your scheduled flight. Find out if the airport offers an autism program to walk your child through the airport, let him or her sit on a plane, or review a social story that will help prepare your child for the flight.

Contact the Transport Security Administration’s (TSA) TSA Cares line, 855-787-2227, at least 72 hours in advance, if you and your child will need help navigating the security lines and search areas. TSA will also assign you a passenger support specialist to assist you at the airport.  Remember to carry your child’s emergency information cards with you, including one for any rental vehicles you may travel in.

Developing a safety plan before summer begins helps prevent tragedies before they happen and give you the chance to have an enjoyable and safe summer with your family

This article originally appeared on Operation Autism Resource’s blog:

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Michigan Guide for Medicaid & MiChild Autism ABA Benefits Mon, 15 Jun 2015 14:19:42 +0000 Michigan Medicaid provides services for children dependent upon their chronological age. This graphic describes the referral course for children in the Medicaid system with suspected autism.

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Guide for Talking with Insurance Representatives Mon, 15 Jun 2015 14:17:27 +0000 A checklist for parents to use when reaching out to Insurance Representatives. These calls are time-consuming and this document should help parents ensure that they do not overlook important questions.

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Coordination of Autism Services for School Age Children Mon, 15 Jun 2015 14:10:44 +0000 Read More]]> The Education Committee of the Michigan Autism Council devised a state plan for both evaluation and management of children on the autism spectrum who are school-aged. This includes recommendations for coordination of services that may be received through school, or through publicly or privately funded healthcare insurance.

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Community Mental Health Pathway for Suspected Autism Spectrum Disorders Mon, 15 Jun 2015 13:32:16 +0000 This work flow explains Michigan Medicaid and MI Child Benefits from the point of referral to the point of ABA service initiation.

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ASD Guide for Pediatricians Mon, 15 Jun 2015 13:18:58 +0000 Read More]]> Recommended work flow designed by the Michigan Autism Council for Pediatricians to follow after they screen a child for autism and obtain a positive screening. A ‘positive’ screening means that there is a greater likelihood that the child has an autism spectrum disorder.

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A Guid For Primary Care Physician Thu, 28 May 2015 14:03:34 +0000 0