A veteran police officer shares an on-duty interaction with an autistic teen that inspired lifelong efforts to bridge special needs knowledge gaps in law enforcement. Many years ago, when I was a new police officer, I was sent to the home of a woman who was having trouble with her 16-year-old son. That was all

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in Autism Safety by Joseph Pangaro

Research has shown children with autism are more prone to being involved in motor accidents than neurotypical children—potentially because motorists are unaware of the challenges many of these children encounter when exposed to everyday traffic. A lack of road-safety measures, coupled with the child’s inability to recognize danger, has resulted in too many autistic victims

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in Autism Safety by Okonkwo Noble

While special care needs to be taken by all parents to ensure their children are safe, even more attention than usual can be required in autism families. Taking care of a child with autism means dealing with the constant worry about keeping him/her safe, which can be exhausting and stressful—but it isn’t the world’s end.

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in Autism Safety by Okonkwo Noble

When firefighters are called, the situation is usually very dangerous. They have to move fast to keep everyone safe. The general community understands how to respond when firefighters are on the scene. But those with autism, maybe even your son or daughter, don’t necessarily know what to do. So parents need to be proactive, not

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in Autism Safety by Karen Kaplan

It is a common belief in the ASD community that kids with ASD “love water.” While this could be an overgeneralized claim, caregivers frequently share, blog, and post web comments related to water. Anecdotes like “he repeatedly turns on the taps to watch water run but doesn’t bother with water in a bowl,” “pours water

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in Autism Safety by Christopher Bloh, PhD, BCBA-D

One of the very real fears many parents of children on the spectrum face is: what can be done to help our children when we are not around? I run a local support group with two other wonderful women, and our meetings usually center around a specific autism-related topic. One month we opted to flesh

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in Autism Safety by Kate Foley

It was a beautiful day in early autumn. I was in my mother’s backyard with my children, draining a little pool we had set up for them. I wanted to take them in and get them dried off because we were about to have some lunch.   My mother had wisely installed a latticed room

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in Autism Safety by Kate Foley

Officers are generally trained to follow standard procedures. Most are not aware how autism may manifest differently than might be expected. Many officers could avoid making serious mistakes with a little bit of knowledge. Those who live each day on the spectrum don’t always respond well to standard procedures surrounding interaction, so communication with a

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in Autism Safety by Karen Kaplan

It can be easy to forget that children with autism can have physical concerns in addition to behavioral challenges. Balance, coordination, and motor skills can sometimes be delayed or difficult for some children on the spectrum, so physical tasks like riding a bike might take some time to learn. In this article, we explore how

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in Autism Safety by Kim Barloso, AB

According to a recent Washington Post analysis*, over 4.1 million children endured a school lockdown during the 2017-2018 school year. More than 1 million of these children were in elementary school, with over 220,000 in preschool and kindergarten. The analysis further reveals that, on a typical school day last year, at least 16 campuses somewhere

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in Autism Safety by Rachel Copeland, MA, CCLS

It’s a sad fact that school shootings have become quite common. 2018 is already on track to be a deadlier year than 2017. Last year 25 students or teachers were killed in school shootings. So far, in 2018, there has been a 63% increase in deaths from school shootings. As a result, most schools now

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in Autism Safety by Sandy Fields, BAPSY

As parents, we always want what is best for our children. This means we have to create a balance between pleasure and safety when planning activities for our children. This is even more important when a child is very young and has autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other special needs, as safety planning entails extra

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in Autism Safety by Sandra Tirone

The Internet has been a game changer. It is estimated that 95% of teenagers aged 12-17 are online.While the Internet has connected us to others and made information much more accessible, it also poses a tremendous potential threat to your child’s safety if left to his/her own devices.Essentially, the Internet presents us a means by

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in Autism Safety by Sarah Kupferschmidt, MA, BCBA

All parents are natural planners. As the parent of a child with a disability and a professional who assists communities and emergency planners with inclusive emergency plans, I know how much more critical emergency planning is for individuals with disabilities.   My daughter has the Angelman syndrome, a rare condition that limits her independence. I’m

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in Autism Safety by Sue Wolf-Fordham, JD

Behavioral experts say one of the key things teachers should know when dealing with a child on the autism spectrum is to not take that child’s seemingly rude or aggressive behavior personally.  Just as with any child, they say, various circumstances can trigger special needs children to express enjoyment, anger, sadness, as well as any

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in Autism Safety by Areva Martin

Disability awareness training needed Since 2014, there has been an increased national awareness regarding how police interact with the public during arrests and emergency situations. The autism community is no exception. During search and rescue missions, crime scene investigation, medical emergencies, and human services investigations, the way in which police and other first responders serve

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in Autism Safety by Katherine G. Hobbs, AA

Dressing up is a fun way to teach imaginative play and is often used as a theme at school or daycare. It is also a tradition for those who celebrate Halloween and trick or treating. Recently, my son’s daycare asked that all girls arrive to school in a princess theme costume and all boys arrive

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in Autism Safety by Sarah Kupferschmidt, MA, BCBA

Swimming offers numerous rewards—whether you’re a child enjoying the summer, an adult wanting to blow off steam after a long day at work, or someone trying to get some low-impact exercise. When it comes to autistic children being near the pool, however, many parents are hesitant to include them, as they are concerned about safety.

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in Autism Safety by Sherley Alaba

Friendship can lead to some of the most amazing achievements. When Sharon Jalette of Farmingville, NY, was asked by a friend to create an identifying tag for her nonverbal child with autism to wear in the car in the event of an emergency, she jumped at the chance to help.  As the child of a

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in Autism Safety by Amy KD Tobik

After your child has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a rush of thoughts may invade your mind.  Many questions might run through your mind: what do I do next? How do I prepare? Why has this happened? How do I cope? Though each question is valid, sometimes the uncertainty of it all can

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in Autism Safety by Natasha Barber

Every school must prepare for the unthinkable: violence in the building.  That violence can come from two specific sources: an “internal” source, like a student in the school, or an “external” source, like an intruder that gets into the building with the intent to hurt or kill people. Our administrators, teachers, support staff, and students

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in Autism Safety by Joseph Pangaro

Police are called to the scene of an accident. The driver is unconscious. In the back seat is an 8-year-old boy with blood coming from his forehead. The officer first on the scene sees the driver is unresponsive and the boy in the back is just staring at him. “Are you OK young man?” the

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in Autism Safety by Joyce Benjamin, RN, PA

If you are a parent to a child with autism, then you may have a child who tries or has tried to escape or elope from your home, your supervision when in public or even from their classroom at school. It can be scary if you think you have 60 seconds to run to the

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in Autism Safety by Hallie Bulkin, MA, CCC-SLP

Terrorism, school shootings, disastrous weather — these are just a few sobering reminders of the sometimes unpredictable world we live in.  In times of distress, children with autism especially need our help to navigate such confusing and scary moments.  If warranted, assistance from a qualified professional such as a psychologist, social worker, or counselor should

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in Autism Safety by Karen Kabaki-Sisto, MS, CCC-SLP

Summer is a time children often look forward to because it means a break from school for a few months.  No strict schedules — no classes — no homework.  But for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a change in daily routine can actually create new stressors.  Children with ASD are often rigid and inflexible

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in Autism Safety by Alison Schmeer, MS