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Archive for the ‘Resources’ Category

CARD-USF’s Water Safety Resources

May is Water Safety Month.

The topic of safety is extremely important to us here at CARD as individuals with autism are more susceptible to danger particularly drowning. Drowning is one of the main causes of death for individuals with autism and the leading cause of death for all children ages 1-4 (CDC, 2019).

At this time, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the rate of drownings has significantly increased during the the stay-at-home orders. Many factors can be attributed to this correlation which is discussed in further detail, along with recent statistics, in an article provided by SafeKids Worldwide, Safe States & YMCA.

CARD-USF works year round on water safety education and provides resources and tools to families and other organizations in the community. At the same time partnering with  various agencies throughout our 14 counties, as well as, national organizations whose mission is to educate and empower caregivers. Thanks to donations to CARD’s Autism Services Fund, CARD has provided life jackets, swim lessons, and Josh the Otter materials to classrooms. CARD created Strategies for including children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)and created a visual with  Water Safety Rules. These strategies are designed to be utilized in collaboration with the Josh the Baby Otter book and Josh the Otter Program/Presentation Guide.

Donations allow CARD to have the opportunity to help our community further by covering the cost of printing and distribution of our created materials along with our ASD and Water Safety brochure. These same funds also provide Safety Kits to families which include items such as door alarms, stop signs and various resources.

Here in Florida, water safety is important year round; however, having a designated month to really push the initiative is a great way to prep for the Summer ahead. Below we’ve created a quick video with some of our favorite tips to practice water safety.

Video clip

 

Adrian Ruiz

 

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, February 6). Drowning Prevention. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/safechild/drowning/index.html

PSA to Overwhelmed Parents at Home: “You Are Doing an Amazing Job”

Elmo’s Dad Sends a PSA to Overwhelmed Parents at Home: “You Are Doing an Amazing Job”

elmo dad

View full article from POPSUGAR Family here

Online Events: ASD & Safety Series

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We miss seeing you at public awareness events and hope you and your family are doing well.

Since we can’t be out in the community, we still wanted to provide resources and information related to specific topics. We have many virtual events around safety coming up! The series is named: Welcome to the CARD Table

These live public awareness events are to provide families resources and tips regarding autism and safety. Below you will find our upcoming schedule for the month of April.

Our full schedule of events can be viewed on our Community Calendar at anytime. Please visit our website for many resources regarding safety and other topics.

View full list of upcoming events here.

Visual Explaining Coronavirus

One of our colleagues came across this comic visual aid on NPR’s website to explain the coronavirus to kids. You can view the entire visual at link provided below.

panel 1

View entire visual here: https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/02/28/809580453/just-for-kids-a-comic-exploring-the-new-coronavirus

 

Hurricane Safety

HURRICANE SAFETY

With the uncertainty of Hurricane Dorian’s impact on Florida, now is a good time to prepare. CARD-USF has Hurricane Safety brochures in English and Spanish as well as a Hurricane Social Narrative. Also, be sure to register with the Special Needs Registry in your county at FLGetAPlan.com

Hurricane Safety (English):https://www.dropbox.com/…/CARD_2018HurricaneGuide_FINAL_dig…

Summer & Water Safety

water safety Header.png

It’s that time of year again, where the temperature and humidity rise so high you can’t go outside without sweating. And what better way to cool off than to take a nice dip in the water! Swimming is the go-to activity for Floridians in the summer, and whether at a pool or at the beach, it’s always a good time. But for children with autism, it can certainly present challenges that the parents may need to consider. We’ve got you covered here at CARD, with our most important tips for water safety.

Drowning is a serious concern for those with ASD and those concerns don’t seem to stop as the person gets older. Drowning can happen in an instant and in water as little as 2 inches deep. Parents, caregivers and anyone should be vigilant with children around water. If your family has a swimming pool, we suggest maintaining barriers around the perimeter of the pool, so that your child won’t be able to wander into it. Also, knowing CPR is always a positive in case of emergency.

It’s also important that children learn how to swim. If you’re an adult and you never learned, please consider doing so. There are many sites throughout CARD-USF’s 14 county service area that provide swimming lessons to individuals with special needs. That list can be found here. I’d also like to direct you to CARD-USF’s wonderful Water Safety brochure, which lays out many of the things I’ve discussed and so much more. If that’s not enough, the brochure has a long list of external resources you can check out on this topic.

Happy summer everyone! Stay cool and stay safe.

  • G. Sosso
Pool safety infographic

A great infographic from American Academy of Pediatrics

Tampa International Airport’s Autism Training & TPA 360 Program

In May, CARD provided an autism awareness training to many of the Guest Services staff and Airport Traffic and Police at Tampa International Airport as part of their effort to meet the needs of people with ASD. We were thrilled to learn about their TPA 360 Traveler Education Program.

Airline travel is often a break from the typical routine and can spark anxiety and stress in most families; especially those with individuals affected by autism. The friendly and supportive TPA 360 staff understand this and offer a “pre-travel” experience that invites families and individuals to visit the airport, take a tour of the areas they will be using during their actual flight, and practice going through the whole process from check-in, to security screening, to actually getting onto the aircraft!  This is like a “living social story” that provides a real experience and sets the expectations of all the travelers in a family.

If you travel or plan to take a flight out of Tampa, we encourage you to contact Tampa International Airport Guest Services  (813) 870-8759 Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. to book a TPA 360 tour.  For more information and a view of their webpage.

For more information on tips and resources for air travel and autism CARD-USF has created the Airports, Airplanes & Autism booklet. Access it here.

AIRPORT COVER

Mental Health Awareness Month

Happy May! May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Did you know, according to research (Ghaziuddin and Zafar, 2008) up to 80 percent of individuals with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum disorder have at least one co-occurring mental health disorder. Common co-occurring mental health disorders include ADHD, anxiety disorders, depression, mood disorders, and eating disorders.

For Parents:

It is important to make the point that there are other medical issues that need to be ruled out before a mental health diagnosis. However, if you have a child on the Autism Spectrum and suspect a mental health concern here are some signs and symptoms to be aware of: impulsivity, attention challenges, hyperactivity, aggression, irritability, crying, avoiding school, restricted or rigid rules with food, resistance to change, low frustration tolerance, bullying, unusual fears or worries. If you feel that you child may be having mental health concerns please contact your primary doctor for a referral for an mental health evaluation.

For Mental Health Practitioners:

Take a look at our mental health guide book to support you while working with individuals on the autism spectrum who have a co-occurring mental health disorder.

Guidebook

As always if you need assistance with resources please contact CARD-USF for assistance. We can be reached at (813) 974-2532 or Card-usf@usf.edu.

 

Written by Charisse Dawkins, LCSW

2013-03CARDfriendposter

We created these posters in 2013 and they continue to be very popular among school age children. You can download the PDF version here.

Autism & Religion

For millions of families around the world, religion plays an extremely important role in their lives. Entire societies have been formed based on a common belief in God or gods. Here in America, Sunday is an important day for many churchgoers, and the diversity of belief found here is unlike any other in the world. But what exactly is the relationship between religiosity and autism, if there’s one at all? While I would describe myself as spiritual, the majority of those I’ve met on the spectrum were not of that inclination? Among the ASD community, what exactly is the consensus?

Surprisingly, this was one of the most one-sided topics I’ve ever researched. Every source I found seems to point to there being a connection between autism and lack of religious belief. In this study, Catherine Caldwell-Harris – a psychology professor at Boston University, paints a pretty clear picture. One further study only further enhanced these findings, as it was discovered that those with autism were only 11% as likely as their neuro-typical counterparts to believe strongly in a God. People on the autism spectrum are not only more likely than average to be agnostic or atheist, but are more likely to reject organized religion if favor of their own personalized belief systems. That’s actually how I’d describe myself, so these findings definitely clicked with me.

But why exactly is this the case? The answer is actually simpler than you’d think. For hundreds of years, there’s been a strong divide between religion and science. The more logical and rational-minded you are, the lower your inclination towards faith. This relates to people on the autism spectrum, as it’s a well-known fact (which I have discussed in previous blogs) that we’re often logical, fact-based, straightforward thinkers who need to see evidence in front of us before we’ll believe anything. An excerpt from this article summarizes it quite well: “I recalled what Simon Baron-Cohen and others have written about autistic people’s tendency to systematize and our love of routine, rationality, and logic. All that makes sense, and I can see how a strongly rational person would reject religious dogma if it does not seem logical.”

Obviously, none of this is universal, as with most topics related to ASD. While it is true that those on the spectrum have a higher chance of being atheist/agnostic, it’s not a foregone conclusion. I know how important going to church, synagogue or mosque is for a lot of families out there, and if you have a child on the spectrum who makes going to service difficult, there are resources available. CARD-USF has their own resource for this topic; View it here.

faith

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