The other night I sat straight up in bed worried about J. What if he and Mama Bear were in an automobile accident? What if he wandered off at school and got lost? What if the house caught fire? (Yes, I can be a bit of a worry wart.) But seriously, what would happen if J were separated from his family?
To look at J, one would never know he was autistic. It’s only when you try to interact with him that it becomes apparent. Even then, at first, to someone who is not knowledgeable about Autism Spectrum Disorder, J would simply appear to be ignoring the person trying to engage with him.
I started thinking about identification and medical alert bracelets. Fortunately, I’m not the first person to think about this. (See, I’m not the only worry wart out there.) With a little research I discovered an entire world of bracelets, necklaces, window stickers, and seat belt covers. Personally, I would avoid the window stickers. In today’s scary world that sticker could act as a target letting the ‘bad guys’ know the location of a vulnerable child.
J is still a little young for the seat belt cover but I think they are an awesome idea for a slightly older child. Embroidered with the child’s name, his/her disorder, and a note like ‘nonverbal, may resist help’ or ‘autistic, must have constant adult supervision’, they wrap around the child’s seat belt shoulder harness. Brightly colored, they alert first responders to the need for special care with this child.
This left the medical alert bracelets and necklaces. After a bit of discussion with Mama Bear, we decided on the dog-tag style necklace for J. The bracelet might bother him and would be too easy for him to remove. The necklace chain is long enough to be comfortable but not long enough for J to slip it over his head and take it off by himself. One side of the pendant features a T-Rex—that boy loves dinosaurs—along with the medic alert symbol. Engraved on the other side is J’s name, autistic, non-verbal, and contact numbers for Mama Bear, Papa Bear, Grandma Bear, and Granny Bear. As soon as J is older, we will add the seat belt cover to our collection of tools to keep J safe.
As a former first responder, and a Grandma Bear, I strongly recommend that if you have a special child, you consider special identification for him or her.
GLENDA THOMPSON, aka Grandma Bear, resides in Charlotte where she is hard at work on the first novel in a series about Texas Rangers with dark secrets. She is also writing a series on Autism for the Pleasanton Express. These are a combination of research and personal experiences.