Get Out There and Get Wet!

Get Out There and Get Wet!

Stock up on sunscreen, pack the kids’ swimsuits, and load up the car because summer vacations are here! According to AAA, 66 percent of Americans plan to take at least one trip during the summer travel season, with many families planning more than one getaway while the kids are out of school. The most popular way to escape the summer heat? Head to a destination where there is water – even if that is in your own backyard or the community pool. Beaches, swimming pools, lakes, rivers and waterparks give us the most opportunities to cool off. With 10.4 million residential and 309,000 public swimming pools in the U.S., more than 95,000 miles of U.S. coastline (that’s a lot of beaches!) and an estimated 1,200 waterparks in North America, one can easily see the potential dangers of being in and around water. Water safety is a top concern for most families, but particularly for those with children on the autism spectrum. So it’s not by happenstance that we thought it important to highlight water safety for families living with autism who are planning summer vacations this year. Swimming and other water-related activities are excellent ways to get the physical activity and health benefits needed for a healthy life. Most people have a safe and healthy time enjoying the water. Armed with important information regarding water safety, you can too. New environments and crowded locations, like beaches, amusement parks and waterparks, can often lead to overstimulation and sometimes results in children on the spectrum trying to escape them. This behavior is called wandering or elopement, and is exhibited by nearly...
Just How Important is Water Safety for ASD Parents?

Just How Important is Water Safety for ASD Parents?

As summer rolls around, many families find themselves spending more time near water – at pools, waterparks, ponds, or beaches. And with vacation travel top of mind for many parents, we thought it was a good time to remind you about the need to be especially careful around water with your children on the autism spectrum. Water safety is a priority for any parent, and many children on the autism spectrum are prone to wandering and lack the awareness of the dangers around them. These children are at a higher risk than other children when in or near water. Teaching your child to swim is a first step in keeping your loved one safe – at home or on vacation. To help, we’ve partnered with Sunsational Swim School, a national provider of private swim instruction with 1000 certified swim instructors in 22 metro areas, who has generously provided our friends and fans a promotional offer for its special needs swim program. Buy a package of 12 lessons and get one lesson FREE (per student), which represents a savings of $45-$64! Simply mention the code TAYLORSTIME15 online or by phone (1-888-788-2140) to take advantage of the offer. Sunsational is one of the only national professional swim companies to offer private swim instruction for children on the autism spectrum. Check out the parent reviews on their website and visit them on Facebook for more information about the services they offer. You can see the areas they serve by clicking here. We spoke to four parents about the importance of teaching their children to swim. Here’s what they had to say. Carol S is...
Six Important Tips to Prevent Wandering

Six Important Tips to Prevent Wandering

Having a child wander off is scary for any parent, but for those with children on the spectrum, it’s even more challenging and potentially a higher risk. What if they can’t communicate how to get home or that they are lost? Will they be startled and hide from first responders? What if they are near water and can’t swim? All of these uncertainties make wandering a scary reality and something that parents need to educate themselves about properly. Nearly half of children with ASD attempt to elope from a safe environment, a rate nearly four times higher than unaffected children. So how can you prevent this? The Autism Wandering Awareness Alerts Response Education Coalition (AWAARE) offers the following six tips to help prevent wandering and wandering-related tragedies: 1. SECURE YOUR HOME Consider contacting a locksmith or security company to promote safety in your home. Secure dead bolt locks, an alarm system and fencing your yard are some of the ways to secure doors, windows and other exits. 2. Consider a Tracking Device Check with local law enforcement for Project Lifesaver or LoJack SafetyNet services. Various GPS tracking systems are also available and provide a reliable way to locate loved ones. 3. Consider an ID Bracelet Medical ID bracelets should include your name, phone number and other important information. It may also state that your child has autism and is non-verbal (if applicable). If your child will not wear a bracelet or a necklace, consider a temporary tattoo with your contact information. 4. Teach Your Child to Swim Swimming lessons for children with special needs are available. The final lesson should...
Sensory-Friendly Films for the Family

Sensory-Friendly Films for the Family

Let’s all go to the movies! Thanks to a partnership between AMC Theatres and Autism Society, families with children on the spectrum can attend special sensory-friendly screenings of select films in movie theaters around the country. The program provides a special opportunity for families to enjoy kid-friendly films in a safe and accepting environment. According to AMC, “the auditoriums dedicated to the program have their lights up, the sound turned down and audience members are invited to get up and dance, walk, shout or sing!” This is another wonderful example of companies providing sensory-friendly environments for children with autism. Without this initiative, many children on the spectrum would not be able to experience what it’s like to see a movie in a large theater because for some, the movie-going experience can be overwhelming. Audio that’s too loud, a dark room, crowded screenings — these things often make events such as this impractical and potentially harmful. For your convenience we’ve listed the movie schedule for 2015 here on our blog. You can visit AMC’s website for a list of participating theaters. Not every AMC location participates in the program so be sure to check before you go. All showtimes are at 10:00 am local time. The AMC theater featured in the video below is having fantastic success welcoming the autism community. Tell us what movies you’d like to see added in the Comment section. Now grab the popcorn and see a film with your family!  ...

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