Keeping Children with Autism Safe
Every day, parents and caregivers of autistic children must stay vigilant to ensure their safety and prevent dangers like wandering. MedicAlert member Joshua and his family have experienced this first-hand.
Joshua is intelligent, fun, and the sweetest little boy. He is also an avid train enthusiast. He knows so much about real locomotives and steam engines that his family often needs to Google things he says so they can understand his passion.
Along with trains, Joshua loves arts and crafts, being outside, and thunderstorms, and he’s so musically inclined that he can often hum a song after hearing it just once. With that talent, Joshua’s mom hopes he will play an instrument or two when he gets older.
Although he takes on the world bravely, Joshua has a diagnosis of autism and anxiety alongside other health conditions. Joshua’s energy and enthusiasm are infectious when he feels safe and happy. But when he feels nervous or scared, or when he’s somewhere unfamiliar, he has the propensity to wander or run away. We spoke to Joshua’s mom to find out why she relies on MedicAlert.
Want to learn more?
What does MedicAlert mean to you as a mom?
MedicAlert means more to me than one may think. As Joshua gets older, my fears become more intense about how the world will react to him and the way he responds or doesn’t respond to certain situations. I hope that as he grows older, and if he encounters law enforcement or gets in any situation, they will recognize his MedicAlert ID bracelet and try to meet his needs and truly understand what he needs.
Does Joshua wear his ID every day?
Yes, Joshua wears his MedicAlert ID bracelet every day. It is never taken off. He doesn’t even notice it anymore. He has worn it for over 2 years now.
When Joshua wears his ID, does it provide you with a sense of comfort? Why?
Oh, yes! Joshua wearing his ID provides a strong sense of comfort for me and our family. He has ASD, anxiety, and health conditions, and is a runner. Having this information easily seen to alert a Good Samaritan or first responder that he may need special attention if lost or in an accident is an amazing thing. When Joshua is scared or hurt, he doesn’t use words nor does he respond easily to others, especially with adults. So, having MedicAlert is of great comfort for us all.
How do you think having a MedicAlert ID impacts Joshua’s safety and security?
With all that is going on in the world today, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic, Joshua’s MedicAlert ID is very important. So many are struggling with having to remain home, but for a child with ASD, it is not something that can be explained to them. As a runner/bolter, when Joshua is ready to go or wants to go somewhere, he will leave. There are always hundreds of eyes on him, as much as humanly possible, but he’s a smart kid. If he should run off, his ID has information that is extremely valuable to his needs and his return.
Your daughter Jazmine is an Instagram influencer and model, and she is also Joshua’s protector. Does her celebrity and modeling impact Joshua?
With our daughter Jazmine Alycia being a model, influencer and in the public eye, we do a lot of traveling. Most times Joshua cannot come along with us, which makes his ID even more important. It brings all of us peace of mind that if something were to happen and we were away from him, his needs would be met quickly, and they’d know who to contact. If he is with us and we are in another state or country, it helps as well because he wouldn’t be familiar with his surroundings.
Our members mean the world to all of us at MedicAlert. They drive and motivate us to live our mission each day: to save and protect lives by sharing critical medical information in our members’ moments of need.
Thank you, Sherry, for sharing your world with us. We can’t wait to follow Joshua and find out if he’ll become a train engineer or storm chaser!
Autism and wandering
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 36 children is diagnosed with autism. Differences in the brains of autistic people mean that they communicate, learn, and behave differently than most other people.
One of these behavior differences involves wandering. The National Autism Association reports that almost 50% of autistic children are at risk for wandering. This is challenging for parents because it can sometimes be hard to predict when a child will wander.
Protecting children from wandering
That’s precisely why Joshua’s mom turned to MedicAlert for help. Joshua’s safety is her number one concern. Joshua’s family selected a MedicAlert ID for its unique member number and specifically for our 24/7 Emergency Response Team hotline number.
If a first responder contacts MedicAlert using the hotline number on an ID, they will have immediate access to critical medical information, emergency contacts, and other personal data to facilitate a safe return and/or proper medical care.
Source: Massachusetts General Hospital
Peace of mind for caregivers
It’s easy to see why behaviors like wandering can be stressful for parents and caregivers of autistic children. When parents first hear an autism diagnosis, it can be scary as they learn what to expect and how to provide the best care possible.
There are many myths about autism, but with the right knowledge and support parents and caregivers can understand their child’s unique traits and ensure their safety. MedicAlert is part of that support and peace of mind that can make all the difference.
Recently, we had the privilege of speaking with Joshua’s mom, Sherry. We learned more about Joshua and why his family chose MedicAlert.