MedicAlert Foundation Provides Autism Medical IDs and 24/7 Wandering Support Service at No Cost as Part of New MedicAlert Found® Program
Nonprofit creates new autism program modeled after its highly-successful dementia wandering service
(SALIDA, Calif., September 9, 2016) – 50% of all individuals with autism will wander or elope; therefore, MedicAlert Foundation has established the MedicAlert Found® for Autism program to provide an additional layer of protection for the autism community during wandering emergencies. MedicAlert Found for Autism is a natural extension of the nonprofit’s MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return® program, a 24/7 wandering service for persons with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia. For a limited time, the Found for Autism program is being offered to families at no cost when they enroll loved ones online thanks to the Northwestern Mutual Insurance Endowment Fund. Online enrollees will receive a MedicAlert medical ID bracelet or necklace, MedicAlert shoe tag, and 24/7 wandering support service.
MedicAlert Foundation has partnered with the National Autism Association to feature the Found for Autism program in NAA’s Big Red Safety Box, a free-of-charge toolkit given to autism families in need as a means to educate, raise awareness and share simple tools that may assist them in preventing, and responding to, wandering-related emergencies. "MedicAlert’s medical IDs and 24/7 services are critical to a family’s overall safety plan," states Wendy Fournier, President of the National Autism Association. “Parents who are overwhelmed by the fear of a wandering incident truly appreciate the additional protection that MedicAlert provides as their 24/7 services have proven time and time again to save lives during wandering emergencies. There is no single solution to autism-related wandering, but this certainly helps."
In a 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, MedicAlert Foundation medical IDs are supported by a live 24/7 emergency support network which coordinates with family and local law enforcement during a wandering incident to provide assistive services.
The medical ID and service was critical in protecting seven-year old Miles Green who decided to “walk to France” in the middle of the night after seeing some of his favorite characters on TV do the same thing. He was a few blocks away when a stranger noticed him walking alone late at night and near a very busy road. Unable to communicate his parents’ information, the woman did notice Miles’ MedicAlert bracelet, which explains that he has autism and is prone to wander. She called the 800 number on the back of his bracelet, spoke to a MedicAlert emergency operator, Miles’ parents were then immediately contacted and he was returned home safely. “This situation is any parent's worst fear,” explains Jennifer Green, Miles’ mother. “It's such a relief as a mom to know that he has his bracelet on all the time, and that MedicAlert is there if we need them - anytime.”
The MedicAlert Found for Autism program is now accepting enrollees. Families are encouraged to select their free medical IDs and register their loved ones with autism at www.medicalert.org/autism.