So what can we do?
1. Teach students to stay with an adult
2. Help families develop safety plans
3. Teach students to identify safe adults
4. Teach students identifying information
This one is just a picture, name, address and phone number and prints out small enough to be kept in a wallet. There is one this size and one larger than wallet size for students who might need more to hang on to. (No, my pictures are not on them….lucky for you! I just completed these so you could see what they would look like completed.
This one has more basic information in case you or their family don’t want to share address information.
And finally there is a small one that just has information with no picture. There is another one that just has the name and phone number with no picture.
Keep in mind that this is a skill that isn’t just for older students, but is important for all ages. I remember in elementary school, my mother was chaperoning a trip to Disney and we lost one of my best friends–who had no disability. It’s a funny story we tease my mother about because my friend knew to go to a restaurant and tell them she was lost when she realized the person she was following was not actually from our group, so we found her as soon as we found a restaurant after realizing she was lost. If my friend didn’t know to do this, had panicked and not been thinking clearly, or had not had the verbal skills to tell someone who she needed to find, the ending might not have been as happy.
Finally, I know there are safety issues involved with giving strangers identifying information and you will need to discuss the costs and benefits with the families of your students. In my mind, the danger of one of our students wandering and not being able to identify him or herself is much worse than the saner of a stranger having his parents phone number. However, this is a discussion you should have with your students’ families.
There are other options for ID cards as well such as the one offered by the Asperger’s Association of New England for providing to first responders. If your student hasn’t learned this skill yet, my Autism is All About Families board has some ideas like these….
I hope this has raised some thoughts about how we can teach students to be safer in their communities. How do you teach safety skills to your students? Please share in the comments!
Until next time,
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