Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mason Alert: PLEASE Support Alert for Missing Autistic Disabled Persons

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Take action: sign the petition!

A heartbroken Kansas mother lost her 5 year old autistic son Mason when he wandered away and drowned in a neighbor's pond. Sheila Medlam is hoping to save other families from her grief.  She hopes to create a new type of national alert called "Mason Alert", similar to the widely known and utilized Amber Alert.  But the Mason Alert would also include vital information specific to the developmentally disabled child/adult, like their obsessions, interests and nearby hazards (like water, woods, etc.). Information about how they react to strangers will help searchers and police personnel to handle the missing person with care if they locate them.

5 Year Old Mason Medlam
Mason Alert will immediately provide authorities with the following:

A current picture of the child.

Child's address and Contact information.

Their fascinations: i.e. railroads, small spaces, water.

Locations of all nearby hazards such as tracks, pools, ponds, abandoned houses, busy intersections.

Notify if the child is verbal or nonverbal. This is very important, because when we search for someone, we tend to stand in one place and shout the person's name. A nonverbal child may not respond to this.

How the child reacts under stress. i.e. do they hide, do they run, do they fight, do they shut down and just stand still.

And finally, how to approach the child and who needs to approach the child. In some instances, authorities will just have to immediately react if the child is in immediate danger, but in other instances, it might be better to wait for a parent or caregiver, and taking this step might help eliminate danger.

According to a recent study by the National Autism Association, 92% of autistic children will wander away from their home at least once. Once per what, I ask? In our home it's at least once per day, down from several times per day. We keep a vigilant eye on our G, and have great neighbors on all sides. No alarm has ever kept my smart boy from climbing and figuring a way out.  It's exhausting - we're on alert 24/7...and he's high functioning and verbal.  We're luckier than most ASD families. 

I was surprised to find out that Amber Alerts are only used for abducted chidren.  Did you know that?  Or did you assume like me, that it was used for all missing children?  Something needs to happen about that too.  Here's the scoop on that:

If you didn't sign the Mason Alert petition, please do it:
This incredible mother is putting her grief to work for me and all ASD parents in the U.S.

Join the Mason Alert Facebook page for news and updates:!/?ref=home

About the Mason Alert effort:

More on the family's tragic story:

Families with autistic children, PLEASE read and implement the Autism Safety Toolkit here:
It could save your loved one.

Another Toolkit from AWAARE (Autism Wandering Alerts Awareness Response Education)

Autism Wandering Prevention page on Facebook:

See if Project Lifesaver police tracking is available in your area:

Forward the Mason Alert petition to all friends and family - I'd love to see the Mason Alert put into action!

Hug your loved ones and keep them safe!

944/1444 36 Hr.