As autism rates continue to climb, so too does the problem of safety-related incidents, many of which result in injury or death. In the past year alone, it seemed as if a month didn’t go by without some kind of tragic story involving wandering, bullying and/or abuse involving individuals with autism.
To help address these issues head-on, the National Autism Association, in collaboration with AutismCollege.com, has announced the availability of a free online safety conference that will take place throughout the month of February. Educational webinars, all 90-minutes in length, will cover topics addressing sexual-abuse, bullying, suicide, wandering prevention and restraint & seclusion — all for parents and caregivers affected by autism and other related disorders.
"Autism Safety and Crisis Prevention" will feature presentations by topic experts, followed up by a Q&A session for participants. The webinar schedule is as follows:
- Saturday, February 11, 8:15 am – 9:45 am PST, Dr. Nora Baladerian, Ph.D. will present “How Can Parents Reduce the Risk of Sexual Abuse of Their Child or Young Adult?”
- Saturday, February 11, 10:00 am – 11:30 am PST, Dr. Lori Ernsperger will discuss “The 3 R’s to Bullying Prevention for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Recognize, Respond, and Report.”
- Wednesday, February 15, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm PST, Dr. Joshua Feder will discuss “The Problem of Depression and Suicidal Ideation in Autism and Related Disorders.”
- Saturday, February 18, 8:15 am – 9:45 am PST, Wendy Fournier of the National Autism Association will discuss wandering prevention and response.
- Saturday, February 18, 10:00 am – 11:30 am PST, Pat Amos, M.A. will discuss “Preventing and Eliminating the Use of Restraints and Seclusion.”
It’s worth noting that the National Autism Association, who is helping to put this conference together, has an excellent track record of advocating for increased safety awareness within the autism community. In fact, they are a member of The Autism Wandering Awareness Alerts Response and Education (AWAARE) Collaboration. This is an organization comprised of some of the nation’s largest autism groups, focusing on preventing wandering-related incidents and wandering-related deaths within the autism community. They offer a great PDF safety brochure that can be downloaded here.
Be sure to check out the first set of safety webinars a week from this Saturday and make sure you tell others about it. Just one piece of information you take away from these sessions could help avoid an unfortunate situation and may even save the life of someone you love.
To register, visit http://AutismCollege.com and click on the brown ‘Register for Free’ tab at the top of the page.