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Kid Companions- Chewelry: Apr 10, 2010

April 10, 2010

Miramichi, NB First In Canada To Have Autism Registry

Miramichi (2006 population: 18,129) is the largest city in northern New Brunswick, Canada. It was formed in 1995 through the forced amalgamation of two towns, Newcastle and Chatham, and several smaller communities.

On March 31st on our Special Needs Stats and News, I wrote about Miramichi, New Brunswick being the first area in Canada to launch an Autism Registry for first responders. Since then Ottawa has done the same thing. As it is Autism Awareness Month, today I will give more details about this voluntary program in Miramichi launched in December 2009.

The Autism Resources Miramichi Inc. (ARM) in co-operation with the Miramichi Police Force organized the registry for persons of all ages with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

All Miramichi police officers and firefighters have received autism training.

Families pay a one-time $25 fee and fill out a registration form asking the usual emergency contact information and fourteen questions regarding the behavior of the Autistic person. Here are a few of those questions:

* Is your child able to communicate with speech?

* Does your child understand receptive language? (what is being said to him/her)

* If not, please describe his/her method of communication:

* Is your child prone to sensory overload?

* Circle which responses may result from sensory overload: Seizure, panic, flight, fight, withdrawal, other. Please describe:

*What might trigger what is circled above? (i.e. dog bark, siren, touch)

* Is there a favorite place that your child may go to if wandering?

The other questions are found on there web site given at the end of this post.

Families receive an identification card and a necklace.

The registry has the Autistic person’s name and address and the parents can opt as well to have their name flagged as a parent of an individual with an ASD.

Individuals with Autism can have their photos and emergency information and personality traits added to the registry data. Therefore, police, paramedics and firefighters who respond to a call are aware and can be prepared to deal with this particular individual.

The forms and photos will be updated yearly. When relevant information changes, the centre must be contacted so they can have that updated in the database.

The individual profiles are embedded in the internal database of the Miramichi Police Force as well as the region's 911 system.

When a 911 call is made, it informs first responders with the needed personal information as well as the triggers that might upset autistic individuals.

Debbie MacGregor, the executive director of Autism Resources Miramichi Inc. (ARM), says: “It has run quite smoothly, and we've probably got about 18 families who have either registered or are in the process of registering, so we're pleased with that number,"

For more information click to the Miramichi Autism Resource Inc.

Has your area considered developing a registry for first responders?
How would this benefit a person you know?

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