Health Chats
Learn How to Improve the Lives of All Affected by Autism
Wednesday Apr 25, 2012, 08:00PM - 09:00PM (EST)
Bridget A. Hewitt, RNBlankBlank
Did you know that half of all children with autism wander and more than one-third of those children are unable to communicate their name, address or phone number? In a recent survey from the Interactive Autism Network, wandering was ranked among the most stressful behaviors by fifty-eight percent of parents. To combat the fear and anxiety families experience, should their loved one with autism wander, MedicAlert Foundation offers medical IDs supported by a live 24/7 emergency support network.<br><br> MedicAlert’s Kid Smart program offers parents the extra reassurance that their children are protected in the event of an emergency. Emergency responders and hospital staff have immediate access to a child’s up-to-date contact and medical information to make the most informed decisions on treatment and care. MedicAlert Foundation services are designed to provide peace-of-mind and security. Take steps now to ensure that you and your child are prepared in case of an emergency.<br><br> MedicAlert Foundation pioneered the use of medical IDs and delivers the most dependable, the most responsive, the most intelligent and the most trusted Emergency Identification and Medical Information Network. MedicAlert provides the functionality of an e-health information exchange through an innovative combination of a unique patient identifier linked to a PHR and a live 24/7 emergency response service. In addition to its 24-hour emergency response service, MedicAlert Foundation International also provides family and caregiver notification so that members can be reunited with their loves ones. Visit www.medicalert.org for more information.
MedHelp:
Welcome to today’s chat!  We will get started in a few minutes, so please feel free to start submitting questions now.
MedHelp:
A huge Thank You to MedicAlert for sponsoring the chat and Nurse Bridget for answering our user’s questions today!!!  
Nurse Bridget:
HI Everyone, thanks for joining us.
Nurse Bridget:
We have a lot of questions already, so lets get started!
Carol 1:
Hi - thanks for taking my question.  My niece has been diagnosed with autism, but she also has obsessive compulsive disorder.  Is it common for both disorders to be present at once?
Nurse Bridget:
This a a good question.  It is not at all uncommon for an autistic child to also be diagnosed with OCD
Nurse Bridget:
One of the characteristic behaviors noted in autism is repetitve behaviors and excessive need for order
Nurse Bridget:
So many autistic children demonstrate OCD behaviors.
Nurse Bridget:
Early intervention is key here, both for the OCD behaviors and for autism.  So it sounds like your niece is on the right track since she has already been diagnosed.
izabch:
I would like to discuss options for child locators& id bracelets.
Nurse Bridget:
ID bracelets and child locators are good tools for children with autism.
Nurse Bridget:
Medic alert is a company who offers a variety of ID options
Nurse Bridget:
These options include, braceltes, necklaces, and shoe tags depending on your childs needs
Nurse Bridget:
These tags are so important for children with any impairment, including autism.
Nurse Bridget:
Medic alert has a KidSmart program designed to address specific needs for youth.
Nurse Bridget:
The website with information about this service is www.medicalert.org.
ChitChatNine:
What is the best type of ID for a child  .. a bracelet, shoe tag, dog tag?  
Nurse Bridget:
This sort of depends on the child.
Nurse Bridget:
Children with autism tend to be sensitive so a sports bracelet would be a good option, since they are made of material and tend to be less distracting than the traditional chain band
Nurse Bridget:
Also, with a medic alert sports bracelet, there are different design options with the band such as sports themes to make them more "trendy"
Nurse Bridget:
Another good option is the shoe tag, since it does not touch the child at all and is simply attatched to the shoe. This would be a good option if your child is sensitive.
Etiean:
How can we help schools to both recognize that a child is autistic, but also not become overbearing? I never told anyone I was autistic, because I didnt want to be given more time for tests, or put into a special education program. I am truly glad those things exist, but some of us do not want them...But we also don't want to have to pretend no problem exists at all. How can we manage this, while also ensuring that those who DO want/need that sort of help can get it, without stigma?
Nurse Bridget:
This is a good question, especially since the stigma of a special education program can be very hard for a child.
Nurse Bridget:
Obviously, public awareness is key.  The more people who are aware of the autism spectrum, the more comfortable and knowledgable we will all become.
Nurse Bridget:
I am sure that you are familiar with an IEP, but for those who are  not IEP's (Individualized Education Program) are key for children with any special need.
Nurse Bridget:
Every child who is identified as needing special education or related services has an IEP.
Nurse Bridget:
IEP's look at each child individually and uniquely, to determine and education plan that is right for THAT child.
Nurse Bridget:
The goal of these plans are to establish what services are needed, set a plan for those services and evaluate their outcomes.
Nurse Bridget:
Parents, teachers, school administators, related services personel and students all work together to form IEP's.
Nurse Bridget:
This can help the child get the services they specifically need and not just a generic plan.
Jack615:
We have 3 children, one with Autism and two without. All three children wear medic alert shoe tags at all times.  We originally did this so our autistic child would not feel "different" but found out quickly how valuable these can be in a medical emergency our non-autistic child had.
Nurse Bridget:
What a great commend Jack615- you are so right in that medic alert ID"s are not just for special needs kids.