MedicAlert Foundation and Autism Society Partner to Raise Support for National Autism Awareness Month

Turlock, California (March 28, 2012) – The MedicAlert Foundation, the leader in emergency medical information and identification services, is planning the launch of a special campaign aimed at raising awareness about the special needs and challenges facing individuals with autism and their families to coincide with the annual National Autism Awareness Month. During the month of April, the Foundation will donate $5 to the Autism Society from the sale of each MedicAlert Kid Smart membership purchased for a child with autism.

MedicAlert’s Kid Smart program offers parents the extra reassurance that their children are protected in the event of an emergency. Emergency responders and hospital staff have immediate access to a child’s up-to-date contact and medical information to make the most informed decisions on treatment and care. In support of National Autism Awareness Month, MedicAlert Foundation is not only donating $5 for new members enrolled, it is giving a free sports band to new members during the month of April.

"The Autism Society has been providing much-needed resources to the autism community on safety, emergency preparedness, and risk management since the 1990s," said Autism Society President and COO, Scott Badesch. "We are very excited to further the effort of our initiatives through this valuable program with MedicAlert Foundation and are grateful for their services."

Half of all children with autism wander and more than one-third of those children are unable to communicate their name, address or phone number. In a recent survey from the Interactive Autism Network, wandering was ranked among the most stressful behaviors by fifty-eight percent of parents. To combat the fear and anxiety families experience should their loved one with autism wander, MedicAlert Foundation offers medical IDs supported by a live 24/7 emergency support network. MedicAlert recently issued an award to three firefighters in St. Petersburg, FL for their coordination and partnership in safely returning a MedicAlert member with autism who had wandered away from home.

Acting Lieutenant Ronald J. Neuberger, who was recognized at the awards ceremony, described the firefighters’ actions after receiving a call to evaluate a lost child. “She was autistic and could not tell us anything at all. She was wandering around a fairly busy road. She had on a MedicAlert ID band and we were able to call MedicAlert and locate her home. If it were not for the MedicAlert ID, we might not have been able to locate her home as quickly and this could have put more stress on the child. When we returned the child home, I explained to the parents that we were able to get her home due to the band she was wearing. We were relieved when we were told that she never leaves home without it.”

“MedicAlert Foundation services are designed to provide peace-of-mind and security. We provide medical IDs that are recognized by first responders and health professionals, supported by a 24/7 emergency response service which relays the member’s medical history, emergency contacts and identification,” explained Andrew Wigglesworth, President and Chief Executive Officer of MedicAlert Foundation. “We are committed to do our part in raising awareness about autism and are pleased to support the efforts of the Autism Society during the National Autism Awareness Month.”

About the Autism Society

The Autism Society, the nation’s leading grassroots autism organization, exists to improve the lives of all affected by autism. Together with over 150 chapters nationwide, the Autism Society increases public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the spectrum, advocates for appropriate services for individuals across the lifespan, and provides the latest information regarding treatment, education, research and advocacy. For more information, visit www.autism-society.org.

About MedicAlert Foundation

Established in 1956, the nonprofit MedicAlert Foundation pioneered the use of medical IDs and delivers the most dependable, the most responsive, the most intelligent and the most trusted Emergency Identification and Medical Information Network. MedicAlert provides the functionality of an e-health information exchange through an innovative combination of a unique patient identifier linked to a PHR and a live 24/7 emergency response service. MedicAlert Foundation International medical IDs alert emergency personnel to a member’s primary health conditions, medications or implanted medical devices. In addition to its 24-hour emergency response service, MedicAlert Foundation International also provides family and caregiver notification so that members can be reunited with their loved ones. Visit www.medicalert.org for more information.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012