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.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, February 6). Drowning Prevention. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/safechild/drowning/index.html
Elmo’s Dad Sends a PSA to Overwhelmed Parents at Home: “You Are Doing an Amazing Job”
View full article from POPSUGAR Family here
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.
View entire visual here: https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/02/28/809580453/just-for-kids-a-comic-exploring-the-new-coronavirus
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…
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.
We created these posters in 2013 and they continue to be very popular among school age children. You can download the PDF version here.