Happy Autism Awareness—or Autism Acceptance—Month! April is the month to wear blue to support people living with autism, and their families, who often take a substantial role in their care and wellbeing, depending on the circumstance and the level of independence an adult with autism is able to achieve.
The characteristics of autism are ones that often affect a person’s ability to communicate, how they socialize with others, and how they behave. These characteristics can range from mild to severe depending on the person and may make everyday situations require adaptation or be very difficult for children and adults with autism.
As everyday situations can be difficult to manage, an emergency situation can be even more so. For instance, a person with autism who is generally “high-functioning” and able to be independent and communicate well with others, may shut down during periods of high stress or anxiety, such as an emergency. This is why medical ID is important for both children and adults with autism.
Why children with autism need to wear medical ID jewelry
- Children may have problems recalling their parents names or phone numbers in an emergency or if they are lost. Children with autism, even if verbal are more likely to have problems communication when they are stressed.
- Children with autism may encounter substitute teachers, teaching assistants, custodians, and other school staff that may not be familiar with their autism; their medical ID can identify their autism to others to help them succeed.
- Wearing medical ID can provide other crucial medical information including seizure disorders which commonly coexist with autism, allergies, hearing or vision problems, or if the person is non-verbal.
- Children with autism are often prone to “running” without warning. Medical ID can help children return to their families or schools safely.
- If a child is ill or injured, their medical ID can convey emergency contact information, medical information, and help them stay safe.
Why adults with autism need to wear medical ID jewelry
- As autism is mainly “invisible”, it may not easily be identified that the person has autism.
- Since a person’s abilities or “symptoms”, and ability to communicate can change under stress or in unfamiliar circumstances, it is important that emergency responders including paramedics or law enforcement do not mistake autism for other situations—such as other medical issues or refusing to comply.
- To identify other medical conditions.
- If a person with autism is non-verbal, medical ID may be able to convey communication strategies—ie. “Autism – Nonverbal. Communication aid in backpack”.
- Medical ID can reconnect people with autism to their families more quickly if they wander off
It may be difficult to get a child or adult with autism to wear medical ID jewelry in the form of a bracelet or necklace due to sensory challenges with how these items feel against the skin. A medical ID sports band or autism alert key chain attached to a shoe or belt loop may be a solution that can provide some extra security for people with autism and their families. Our medical alert key chains and medical id dog tags/dog tag keychains are now available in more colours than ever including orange, pink, purple, silver, and yellow!
Wearing autism medical ID jewelry can help keep a loved one with autism safe. If you support someone with autism, consider showing your support with our autism awareness keychain, which can be custom engraved—you could use it alongside a medical alert charm, or simply to honour your loved one with autism by engraving their name on the reverse!
To learn more about autism, visit the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.