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MedicAlert Foundation and Autism Society Launch New Program to Safeguard Individuals and Families Living With Autism

Saturday, September 19, 2009 General News J E 4
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The Safe and Sound(R) Safety Management and the MedicAlert(R) Emergency Response programs are working together to help emergency responders better serve the autism community

TURLOCK, Calif., July 14( )/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- MedicAlert Foundation International, the leader in emergency response medical information services, has teamed up with the Autism Society to provide protection and peace of mind through a new program, Medic Alert + Safe and Sound(R), offered under the respective registered trademarks of the cooperating sponsors. The official launch of the program will take place at the Autism Society's 40th National Conference at the Pheasant Run Resort and Spa in St. Charles, IL from July 22-25.

MedicAlert Foundation and the Autism Society will host a Safe and Sound(R) training session on the first day of the conference from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. The training will educate first responders and law enforcement on autism behaviors and characteristics, and how to work proactively with families, advocacy organizations, and school systems.

"It is often difficult to tell if someone is on the autism spectrum," said Lee Grossman, President and CEO of the Autism Society, who has a son with autism. "They may not be able to express what's wrong or might show signs of unusual behavior, causing medical issues to be incorrectly diagnosed. Having autism engraved on a well known identifier such as the MedicAlert ID enables first responders, who are helping a patient on the spectrum; know exactly what they're dealing with."

Once identified, first responders can call MedicAlert's 24-hour Emergency Response Center to get information about the individual. Additionally, through MedicAlert's 24-hour Family Notification Service, family members are immediately notified about the emergency.

According to the Autism Society, an estimated 1.5 million Americans have an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and in 2007, the Centers for Disease Control released data that found one in every 150 American children has an ASD.

The Safe and Sound(R) initiative was created to provide much-needed resources to law enforcement and medical first responders to better educate them on the needs of the autism community. Now with the help of MedicAlert Foundation, those on the autism spectrum can communicate more effectively with emergency medical teams and law enforcement personnel, helping to provide peace of mind to families.

Greg Adams, former first responder and Associate Director of Emergency Medical Education for MedicAlert Foundation, firmly believes that the MedicAlert ID combined with the emergency response service is the most effective way of notifying emergency medical teams about ASDs.

"When assessing a patient, once they are stable, I always look for a MedicAlert ID," said Adams. "Knowing a patient has autism is crucial in how I manage their care. The MedicAlert + Safe and Sound(R) program educates first responders how to help people with autism quickly and effectively."

Benefits of MedicAlert + Safe and Sound(R) Membership include:

For more information on the MedicAlert + Safe and Sound(R) program or for an interview with families living with autism, please contact Margaret Reynolds at 773.459.6579.

About Autism:

Autism is a complex neurodevelopmental disability that typically appears during the first two years of life and affects a person's ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a "spectrum disorder" that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause for autism, but increased awareness and funding can help families today.

About MedicAlert Foundation:

MedicAlert Foundation pioneered the first medical identification and emergency medical information service in 1956 to provide people with a simple but effective method for communicating their medical conditions. Since the organization's founding, MedicAlert has provided services and products that help to protect and save lives for its 4 million members. For more than 50 years, the nonprofit has relayed vital medical information on behalf of its members to emergency responders so they receive faster and safer treatment. MedicAlert IDs alert emergency personnel to a member's primary health conditions. In addition to its 24-hour emergency response service, MedicAlert also provides caregiver notification so that members can be reunited with their families. For more information, visit www.medicalert.org.

About the Autism Society:

The Autism Society, the nation's leading grassroots autism organization, exists to improve the lives of all affected by autism. We do this by increasing public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the spectrum, advocating for appropriate services for individuals across the lifespan, and providing the latest information regarding treatment, education, research and advocacy. For more information, visit www.autism-society.org.

-- Live 24-hour Emergency Response Service and Family Notification Service -- Personalized MedicAlert ID and Emergency Wallet Card -- Access to Emergency Medical Information Record

SOURCE MedicAlert Foundation
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