Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Contact Information

Try This Tuesday

Frog has reached the age where most of his peers are memorizing their address and phone number and learning how to recite them to a trusted adult in an emergency. Frog is non-verbal and while he has ways of communicating with family, he typically avoids strangers. We had been concerned about what would happen if he got separated from us when we were away from home. But a couple of months ago he left our front yard and was found in the middle of the intersection in front of our house, by the assistant superintendent of schools no less. Because he was not able to give any indication of who he was or where he belonged, the police were called. This happened within about 7 minutes of him leaving us at the dinning room table and squeezing through a gap in the fence. We've looked at various tracking devices, but they all seem cumbersome and some are quite technical (would probably not stand up to submersion is a fountain or puddle). We have tried various bracelets in the past, but they were too irritating and distracting for Frog. Our current solution is this temporary tattoo

We ordered it from Safety Tat and had my cell phone number put on it. Fortunately, we haven't had a chance to "use" it yet. But I feel better knowing that Frog can "give" his phone number if the need arises. It is bright and colorful and a little sparkly, but you would have to look really close to read what it says. My hope is that it would appear to be like any temporary tattoo the other kids might be playing with unless someone was looking for a way to identify my child. It washes off with a little soap, warm water and a little scrubbing.

For more Try It Tuesday posts go to 5 Minutes for Special Needs

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jessica @ raising joey said...

What a great idea! Thanks for sharing this one!

lilmomthatcould.com said...

Thanks- great idea!

rhemashope said...

hi frogsmom! i found you! the story about frog going into the middle of an intersection is so frightening... the temp tattoo sounds like a keeper - thanks for passing on a great idea!

Frogs' mom said...

Hi Rhemashope,

I'm glad you found me! It was scary. We finished dinner about 4 minutes after he left us. Our front yard is fully fenced and we have a large playroom/therapy room downstairs where he often plays on his own. We searched the house for another three minutes before we found him out front - so much can happen in so little time.

Trish said...

This looks like a really great product that will help a lot of people - wandering off is such a real concern for a lot of families.

Thanks for participating!

PsychMamma said...

I think this is a brilliant idea, even for "typically functioning" kiddos - especially those prone to wandering and especially in places like malls and amusement parks.

Thanks for sharing!

hellokittiemama said...

We have Project Lifesaver for Alex. It's $20 a month here and they come once a month and swap out his battery. It can get wet - he swims several days a week and bathes, shower, washes like normal. My son got out before (and naked) while my husband was sleeping and I was out of town. So Scary.

Jenny said...

That is an excellent idea! I'm going to jot down the name of that website to have in the future. Thanks for sharing this!

Julie said...

Great idea! I've been wanting to hear what parents have to say about these tattoos. Would you put it on the back of his hand??

Frogs' mom said...

Hi Julie,

I put it higher on his arm and usually closer to the inside of his arm. It’s colorful enough to get the attention of someone close enough to talk to him. If it were on the back of his hand I think he would wash it off too quickly. I also struggled with how much information to give. I don't want "I have non-verbal Autism" to be the first thing everyone knows about Frog. I also wanted to give enough information to be helpful for first responders without giving too much information that would be dangerous in the wrong hands. I'm still not entirely sure where that line is.

Frogs' mom said...

Hi Hellokittiemama,

Project Lifesaver is a wonderful thing. Another autism mom in town is lobbying for it now, but City/County budgets are really tight. A neighboring city just installed the system prompted by wandering individuals with Alzheimer. We are wondering if the cities could "share" the device.

Your son's story is so scary. Lack of clothing was also an issue with Frog's explore. I think the whole incident shook him up a bit too. When we are outside with him, he stays clear of the driveway and prefers to play and explore in the back-yard now.

Maddy said...

You know we were in that spot not so long back [well ages ago but you know what I mean]

I found that once they could sort of articulate a short version they still couldn't remember it when prompted [unless the stars were aligned]

However, I discovered by pure chance that they could sing it! [I picked the wrong tune, but that's always the case with me] It worked like a dream.

Of course now they're much older huge children. In class they had to attempt to write it down and of course they couldn't without singing it. As they were in the same class this year [second and third grade combined, spec ed] the poor teacher had to endure the chorus.

Rule - learn from my mistakes.

Frogs' mom said...

Hi Maddy,

Oh my, I can hear them now! Right song or not, you just have to go with what works. I'm sure their teacher will come up with a creative way to "thank" you :0). Frog still sings to his own tune, but we have found that he processes our directions better if we sing them. We've no end to improvised choruses to a variety of right and wrong songs. Thanks for the cautionary tale!

gail said...

what a great idea! my son is non-v erbal too and i often wonder what i should do. have you tested it out on your son yet? i'm wondering if my son would try to smear it off.

Frogs' mom said...

Hi Gail,

When we place it high on his arm, he tends to leave it alone. The real trick is getting him to cooperate when we put it on so we get a good tatoo in the first place.

autismfamily said...

I like this idea. I bought shoe lace id but the ink would not stay on so that was a waste of money.

I have stickers I got from an autism org (forget which one now) that says my kids have autism. Used to use similar stickers for their car seats when younger.

This is the magnet I have on my bumper, plus I bought for a $1 autism whistles that are on my keychain and one for his aide so we can whistle to get him to stop or get another person's attention