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Wandering and Autism: Wearable QR Codes

February 25th, 2015

if i need help banner

By Erin Wilson, Founder, If I Need Help.org
Last year, New Yorkers rallied to change laws regarding school safety and making tracking devices available to vulnerable people. According to Autism Wandering Awareness Alerts Response and Education (AWAARE), a 2011 study conducted by the Interactive Autism Network QR-code-pres-18x24-4Dthrough the Kennedy Krieger Institute found that:

  • Roughly half, or 49%, of children with autism attempt to wander from a safe environment (a rate nearly four times higher than their unaffected siblings)
  • More than one third of children with autism who wander are never or rarely able to communicate their names, address, or phone number.

As a mother of a child that has been severely affected by autism, I’ve had to deal with my son wandering on more than one occasion. After these awful experiences, my husband and I wanted to create a simple way to allow people to help our son if/when he is lost or wandering. So, we started a non-profit organization called If I Need Help that creates personal wearable QR codes.

QR-code-pres-18x24-3DQR codes are two dimensional barcodes that can be scanned by a smartphone or mobile device to hard link to or “object hyperlink” to a specific set of information or website. The QR codes we develop at If I Need Help are scanned or manually entered. From there, it links to a live profile to your child that can be edited in real time. The profile can be emailed to others when a search is needed. The barcode can be printed out with the free membership. We also offer personal codes on patches, pins, clips, ID tags for shoes, necklaces and ID cards. This way of identification and information is now also helping incapacitated people with mental illness, memory care or with physical conditions in which they may need help during critical situations.


Please go to www.IfiNeedHelp.org to learn more.


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Program Created for Families Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders at American Museum of Natural History

February 4th, 2015

The American Museum of Natural History in collaboration with the Seaver Autism Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is beginning “The Discovery Squad,” a new tour program developed for families impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The program will begin on February 7, 2015 and run on selected Saturday mornings through June 2015. It is open to 5-14 year-olds with autism spectrum disorders (each child must be accompanied by an adult).

Children can join a tour lead by trained Museum tour guides and spend time exploring the Discovery Room (an interactive exhibit that gives a behind-the-scenes look at all the major fields of science, ranging from anthropology to zoology) before the Museum is open to the public. Families are invited to stay after the tour and enjoy the rest of the museum.

To learn more about additional dates, information, or to buy tickets, click here or please call the American Museum of Natural History at 212-313-7565 or email accessibility@amnh.org

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