Friday, November 8, 2013

Discussion time: How to try to stop "runners"

Over on our Facebook Fan page we hold a regular discussion time, where you can ask all our fans for advice.  If you have a question to ask, please head over to our Facebook page where you can easily enter your question for discussion by using the Questions tab.  Zoe asked the following question:

My daughter ran off on me today in Target and was gone for over half an hour. I looked everywhere and couldn't find her. Is there an app that I can use to help this? I already have one that talks about safe strangers.

A lot of parents of kids on the autism spectrum can feel the fear Zoe would have felt, as they have felt it with their own kids.  It is a well known fact that kids with ASD are more likely to 'run' than other kids.  Our fans gave the following general suggestions to Zoe's question:

Emily asked:  Can you make a social story?

Alinta suggested: There are apps to create your own social story.  You could personalise it yourself.

Wendi mentioned:  I have been looking into GPS tracking earrings from Amber Alert.  You track with a smart phone, just not sure my DD will leave the earrings in.

Kelly suggested:  I have taught my kids to find another mummy with kids because, let’s face it, there are not may police just walking around Target nowadays.  Just an idea.  And I hope you are OK.  40mins would have felt like a lifetime!!

Sasha said: I don’t have a special needs child but I do have young ones.  I show them uniformed workers when we enter and tell them they can look for a worker, or also another Mommy (not Daddy sorry).

Mariam mentioned:  Kids in spectrum runIts a scientific fact. Brick house security has some unique items. I bought a fancy amber alert system with a complex contract. There are assorted gadgets from watches, gizmos that can go in pockets, backpacks and such. Even heard they have GPS strips built in shoes.   My child many years ago repeatedly earned the nickname Houdini. Taught him to go to the check out lady or police man. They will never comprehend your fear. Even now at 16 will say. I knew where I was and knew I was safe.

Ali wondered:  Could you get a GPS watch or bracelet?

Allison commented:  I had rub on tattoos made with his name and cell phone.  But I don’t us them every day, just ball park days etc

Rita said: Get her an ID bracelet... my son’s a runner and I got him one.

Jessy asked:  Depends why she ran off?  Did she run because she was anxious/scared?  Did she just wander off because something else captured her attention?

Brenda thought:  You could make a bracelet with her.  Use letter beads and numbers and put her name with a space and then your cell number.  Teach her that if she’s lost to show a store clerk the bracelet.

Rebecca said:  I have a tether that can Velcro from wrist to wrist.  I put it on the shopping cart and my dd’s wrist.

Amy mentioned:  Social story is a great idea, also, you could order a tile and put it on her necklace and you can track her with your iPhone.  (More information on this can be found on the Tile website).

Amy asked: How did you find her?  Did you ask store employees to help?  Most large stores have a "Code Adam" procedure so kids won't leave the store before you find them.  (Code Adam is a safety program that operates in the United States and Canada).

Chatterbox is a 'runner'.  When we are out and about, we make sure we hold her hand, set boundaries and watch her closely.  Our biggest issue is night time -- especially after she was brought home by the police at 2:30 in the morning in early March this year.  You can read the whole story on my blog in the post Fort Knox.  Since then, we have upped our security from 'secure' to 'Fort Knox' level.  We got a Medic Alert bracelet, and considered a GPS watch, but we were put off by the cost and not so great reviews.  Having a child who is a 'runner' is a constant worry and anything that you can do to help your child be safe, and reduce your own stress, has to help.  

The following apps were suggested in response to Zoe's question:
** Please note: Some of these apps have in-app purchases, but they can easily be disabled in the settings of your device. There are also ads and social network links in some of these apps.

Only the app's developer can control when an app is free or not. All apps that we post as free are verified to be free at the time of this post. We make no guarantees otherwise.**

Zoe:  The app I have is called staying safe and has a yellow background with a red star on it and a thumbs up sign on the star.

Staying Safe and Safer Strangers - A Stranger Danger Social Story for Autism, Down Syndrome & Other Special Needs by Touch Autism

From iTunes:
Children with special needs often need more direct instruction of social skills like how and who to ask for help. Teaching community safety skills to any child may be easier and less stressful when visual supports, like social stories are used. This social story explains accurate safety information and ensures that your child will know what to expect and what to do if they are lost.

Social stories are an important type of visual support often used with children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome or other special need. This social story uses simple text and descriptive pictures to explain why and how to ask for help. Social stories were first defined by Carol Gray in 1991 and are commonly used to break down a task or social situation into small and easy to understand steps, often accompanied by descriptive pictures. Social stories are incredibly easy to implement and are used by many professionals for a wide range of behaviors.

If you would like to download this app, please support Smart Apps For Special Needs by clicking this button:

($2.99 iPad/iPhone)

Australian Federal Police Child ID
Kelly:  Another good one for when they are actually lost is police child ID.  You can alert police straight from your phone with all details and a picture.

From iTunes:
The Australian Police Child ID App was designed and built by AFP based on software provided under licence by the FBI to help parents and guardians more easily collect and send important information about their child/children in the event of a disappearance or abduction. Procedures may vary on a State to State basis. No data from this app is collected or stored by the AFP or any other Australian Police agency unless it is sent to the police following disappearance or abduction.

If you would like to download this app, please support Smart Apps For Special Needs by clicking this button:

(Free, iPhone)

The following are a few apps that can be used to make Social Stories:

Little Story Maker by

From iTunes:
"The only story book maker of its kind. Little Story Maker offers a magical way to enjoy your personal pictures and stories with your child. The little ones will love to hear stories with pictures of people and places they are familiar with. Older kids, will love the stories and the ability to easily create stories all on their own. In Little Story Maker, you can create an unlimited number of personal stories. The only limit is your creativity."

If you would like to download this app, please support Smart Apps For Special Needs by clicking this button:

(Free, iPad/iPhone)

Pictello by AssistiveWare

From iTunes:
"Pictello is a simple way to create talking photo albums and talking books. Each page in a Pictello Story can contain a picture, up to five lines of text, and a recorded sound or text-to-speech using high-quality voices. Stories can be shared using iTunes File Sharing or via WiFi with other Pictello users through a free account on the Pictello Sharing Server. Stories can be shared with non-Pictello users as PDF files through email or iTunes File Sharing.

Pictello is developed for all ages and skill levels, so it is easy to use and requires no reading skills to locate and read stories. Pictello offers an easy visual story creation wizard so everyone can use pictures and sound to share important moments in their lives. An advanced editor gives full control of the editing capabilities."

If you would like to purchase this app, please support Smart Apps For Special Needs by clicking this button:

($18.99, iPad/iPhone)

Storybook Maker by Merge Mobile
From iTunes:
Storybook Maker can be used to design, create and share:1. Short Stories
2. Picture Books
3. Photo Collages
4. Scrapbooks 
5. Vacation Albums 

Storybook Maker is an amazing app for children to express their creativity. With Storybook Maker you can make a book and share it with friends! The app comes equipped with all the tools needed to create incredible and exciting stories! 
Each page can have it’s own custom layout and include text, drawings, audio photos and stickers. You can even include physics objects such as a ball or car to make your book even more interactive!

If you would like to purchase this app, please support Smart Apps for Special Needs by clicking on the following button:
($1.99, iPad Only)
Book Creator

From iTunes:
The simple way to create your own beautiful iBooks, right on the iPad.
Read them in iBooks, send them to your friends, or submit them to the iBookstore.
Ideal for children’s picture books, photo books, art books, cook books, manuals, textbooks, and the list goes on.
* Choose from portrait, landscape or square book sizes.
* Quickly add pictures from the Photos app, or grab them from the web, then move, resize and rotate them with your fingers.
* Edit text using the onscreen keyboard, and apply rich formatting to make it look great.
* Choose from all of the iPad's fonts - over 50 to use.

* Import video and music, and record speech within the app.
* Draw and write in your books with the freehand pen tools. 
* Layout your book exactly as you want it with guidelines and snap positioning.
* A quick tap and you're reading your book in iBooks!
* Send your books to your friends over email, to iTunes on your computer, over Dropbox, or to a WebDav server.
* Print using AirPrint or other printer apps, or export as PDF.
If you would like to download this app, please support Smart Apps For Special Needs by clicking this button:

($4.99, iPad/iPhone)


We also covered Stranger Danger in the Stranger Danger articles, websites and more discussion time post.  
If you have your own question to ask, please head over to our Facebook page where you can easily enter your question for discussion by using the Questions tab.

Odd Socks Mummy now wants to go and hide in a corner, and not think about 'runners' for a while.  When she emerges she might go write a post at Giggles and Chatterboxing.

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