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This issue focuses on autism safety tips at school
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Autism Safety Zone - Fall 2015 Newsletter - School Safety Tips for Families/Educators & First Responders
How safe is your school?
 
29% of wandering happens from a classroom or school!!
 
There are safety precautions that families/schools & first responders can take to eliminate this risk.  This newsletter will help your community start this new school year off SAFELY.

Act NOW to 
Prevent Wandering!  YOU can make a difference!!

Read in this newsletter what Avontes' Law is all about, then please call your senators today!  Click here, then select your state to get phone numbers for your senators. Ask them to co-sponsor S.163 Avonte’s Law

What can FIRST RESPONDERS do to make schools safer?

by Nancy Brown, Co - Founder, Autism Information Specialist, parent
  • Look at surrounding areas near every school in your responding area.  Identify all danger areas including bodies of water, busy streets and railroad tracks.  If a call comes for a missing student with autism, check WATER sources first.
  • Meet with school administrators to discuss these danger areas and discuss response protocols.
  • Encourage schools to have meetings with children in a non-stressful environment so that they will trust you in a real emergency.
  • Have an open house where they can check out your vehicles and equipment so they become comfortable with them.
  • If you are called to respond to a meltdown situation, don't intervene unless they are hurting themselves or others.  Let the meltdown run its course.  Ask the caregiver/teacher that knows them well, how best to respond.

Proactive Measures FAMILIES can take to protect their child at school

by Nancy Brown, Co - Founder, Autism Information Specialist, parent
  • If your child with ASD/DD has a tendency to wander or has wandered before, please notify the school's teachers and staff to be on watch.  Communicate potential triggers, where they might wander to & how best to approach the child.   Check out two samples of IEP letters to be handed to school staff to make sure everyone is aware of potential wandering issues.
  • Take a picture of your loved one before they leave for school to help you remember exactly what they were wearing.
  • Teach "safe spots" (places to go to and wait if they are lost) in and around the school.  Remind them of these safe spots frequently.
  • Teach basic simple commands like "STOP," "COME"and "WAIT."  
  • Teach basic safety skills like how to safely cross the street and who are "safe" people to talk to.
  • Have the child wear any one of the many safety products available to identify them and provide important information about their disability.
  • Register your loved one with local law enforcement.  Any version of this form will work.
  • Provide swim lessons or teach basic water safety.
  • Use a tracking device which will notify you immediately if they have left the school area.
  • Encourage school staff to rehearse basic safety commands & to order the Big Red Safety TookKit for teachers.
  • Have your loved one meet and interact with local first responders in a non-stressful environment so that in a real emergency they aren't afraid.
  • Make sure all school staff are aware of special issues related to your child such as what a meltdown might look like, what are the triggers, and how best to respond.
     
Special Ed Teachers & School Administrators - It's time to order your FREE Big Red Safety Teacher's Toolkit!
The kit includes educational materials for teachers, four door/window alarms, & five laminated Adhesive Stop Sign Visual Prompts for doors & windows.  Click here to learn more.
Listen to Matt & Nancy's Interview on the Derek Volk Show which aired on Sep. 5, 2015. They discuss issues relating to safety for individuals with Autism, and their many training programs for first responders, schools and other community organizations.
Follow ASET on TWITTER!  We will keep you informed of current autism safety news, safety tips, training updates and many more resources!  Share our information to help save lives:   @autismsafetynow
Upcoming Trainings...

9/23/15 - Newport, ME Police Department and other First Responders (sponsored by RSU #19)

9/23/15 - Stacyville, ME - RSU #, Educational Technician Training

11/4/15 - Newport, ME School & Community Training (tentative)

3/25/16 - ME Autism Leadership Team training breakout session (north) - sponsored by ME Autism Institute for Education & research (MAIER)

3/29/16 - ME Autism Leadership Team training breakout session (south) - sponsored by MAIER

4/29/16 - Presque Isle, ME - Community Training - sponsored by Aroostook Autism Support Group (tentative)

4/30/16 - Presque Isle, ME - Keynote Speaker, Autism Challenge Weekend (tentaive)

What TEACHERS & 
ADMINISTRATORS can do to make Schools Safer


by Nancy Brown, Co - Founder, Autism Information Specialist, parent
  • Develop a wandering response plan for students with ASD/developmental disabilities (DD).  Ask parents/caregivers what their triggers are, where they might go if they wander, how to approach them and what measures they take to avoid them.
  • Order the Big Red ToolKit for Teachers from the National Autism Society which contains many useful tips, free window and door alarms, and stop sign decals. (see more info below)
  • Work with the families to ensure the child is learning basic safety commands like STOP, WAIT & COME, and know how to ask for help.  They should also be learning about how to safely cross a street.  Use visual aids as much as possible.
  • Introduce the child to school staff (bus driver, custodian, cafeteria staff, etc.) and share any necessary information regarding the child's safety (loud noises may cause meltdowns, they might wander during transitions, etc.)
  • Encourage families to register their child with local law enforcement.
  • Learn from the parents/caregivers what a meltdown looks like, what are the triggers, and the methods they use for calming.
  • Host community days where first responders can meet these children in a stress-free environment.

What is Avonte's Law?

AVONTE’S LAW ACT OF 2015 (S.163) WOULD:
– Help reduce the risk of injury and death relating to wandering in individuals with autism and other disabilities
– Safeguard the well-being of individuals with disabilities during interactions with law enforcement
– Provide education and resources to law enforcement agencies, first responders, schools, clinicians, and the public in order to reduce the risk of wandering by such individuals
– Help to identify signs of abuse in such individuals
– Increase their personal safety and survival skills
– Facilitate effective communication with individuals who have communication-related disabilities
– Provide training and emergency protocols for school administrators, staff, and families
– Provide response tools and training for law enforcement and search-and-rescue agencies, including tracking technology; or provide response tools and training to law enforcement agencies in order to recognize and respond to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities
– Require each law enforcement agency that receives a grant to comply with any such standards and best practices
* Source – Autism Safety Coalition 2015

Dean College - Training their Police Force & staff

On August 17th, Matt & Nancy traveled to Franklin, MA to provide a training for the Dean College Campus Police. Also in attendance were officers from Franklin PD, as well as a number of school administrators and staff. The session was very well received and we were thrilled to do our first training for a college campus.

I have received many calls from anguished parents of college students in many states who have been victims of on-campus crime, but have received no justice in large part because of an untrained campus police force.

With the increased number of students with autism, it is absolutely essential that colleges become more educated on the special needs of this population.
Thanks to the forward thinking folks at Dean College, particularly Police Chief Ken Corkran, proactive steps can be taken to educate students on the spectrum how to keep themselves safe, as well as how to prevent them from getting into legal trouble.

Thank you Dean College for your leadership in this area!  We hope more colleges follow their lead in the near future.

- Testimonial - 

"We found the Autism Safety Awareness presentation very eye-opening and filled with valuable information that is pertinent to what officers deal with."

- Ken Corkran, Director of Public Safety, Dean College

Read more testimonials

Matt is Retiring as a Federal Law Enforcement Officer!!


On September 11, I will be retiring after 25 years of service as a U. S. Probation Officer, the last 18 of those years in the Portland, ME field office. My job entailed the supervision of individuals released from federal prison. Most of the offenders I worked with suffered from serious drug and mental health issues. The last year of my career I supervised our drug court program. 

I will be transitioning to NAMI (National Alliance in Mental Illness) Maine, as the coordinator of the CIT (Crisis Intervention Training) program. CIT is a 40 hour course on mental illness, specifically geared towards law enforcement officers. The course is designed to provide officers the tools necessary to interact safely with individuals with both mental illness and developmental disabilities, including Autism.
 
I've worked with NAMI as a volunteer for years and developed the autism training for the CIT program, so it is a natural fit for me and I'm excited for this new chapter in my life. I'm grateful for a long, productive law enforcement career, and to my wife and kids who dealt with all the late nights, weekend work and stress. 

My new job will provide me with more flexibility to provide more autism trainings and I'm really looking forward to that!
 

About Matt Brown and ASET:


Matt Brown is a 26 yr. veteran of law enforcement who, for the past ten years, has trained over 5,000 police officers, firefighters and other first responders, as well as educators, on preventing, recognizing, and responding to crisis situations involving persons on the autism spectrum.  His combination of experience as both a seasoned law enforcement officer and the proud father of a child on the autism spectrum, provides him with the credibility needed to tackle this challenging issue, and inspire communities to begin autism safety programs in their local areas.  He is also the owner and founder of ASET - AUTISM SAFETY EDUCATION & TRAINING, www.aset911.com, which is providing this much needed training nationwide.
Matt Brown (now ASET) has trained over 5,200 First Responders & Community Members since 2004. Find out how to bring him to your community.
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