If I Need Help asked our friend Emily Iland to share information about her incredible safety tool “Be Safe The Movie” . BE SAFE is excellent for helping teach your child, teen or adult to interact safely with the police. This is an excellent safety tool we believe in.
If I Need Help makes wearable iD and offers a free Caregiver controlled special needs registry for our loved ones who may wander or need assistance in a critical moment.
Many families who live with the risk of having a child (or adult) wander or bolt from home already know some of the key safety strategies to address the situation:
• Keep doors and windows securely locked and/or alarmed.
• Print out a Google Earth map of your neighborhood identifying all nearby bodies of water.
• Enlist neighbors to keep an eye out for your child (or an adult in your care).
• Use identification systems like If I Need Help, or even tracking devices like AngelSense.
While all of these things can help, here is one more safety strategy to consider: Teach your child, teen or adult to interact safely with the police. Especially if your “wanderer” has autism or another developmental disability, they need to be explicitly taught how to interact safely with the police.
Why? Because the police often become involved in a search for a vulnerable person with a disability, considered a “critical missing person.” If the police are unfamiliar strangers, the person being looked for might panic, fight, run or hide from rescuers. Each of these understandable reactions can be dangerous for different reasons.
For example, a panicked person might run into the street to get away from an officer who is only trying to reunite him or her with their family. A person who is taught, “Don’t talk to strangers” might hide in the bushes every time a rescuer comes near, putting their health and safety at risk. These examples underscore the importance of teaching about the helping roles of the police and not to fear officers.
Individuals of all abilities also need to learn to cooperate with the police and follow instructions, for their own safety. Examples include learning to stop when told to do so (again, think of preventing someone from running into traffic). It is dangerous to assume that the person will be able to follow instructions from the police during an emergency with no preparation. It is far easier to cooperate with police when the person is familiar with their instructions and has had a chance to practice before needing the skill in real life.
These kind of safety skills are challenging to teach, requiring patience, time and effort. The secret is using teaching tools that are well-matched to the way your loved one learns. Joey Travolta of Inclusion Films helped me create BE SAFE the Movie to teach seven essential safety skills for interacting with police. While we designed it to teach those with autism and related disabilities, the 1-hour DVD can benefit anyone, disability or not. BE SAFE uses video modeling, a powerful teaching safety tool that can reach people of all ages, cognitive abilities and language levels. Our actors are individuals with autism and related disabilities, interacting with real police officers, which makes it really authentic!
BE SAFE plants positive visual images in people’s minds that they can draw upon during an encounter with the police, whether it is a casual meeting, needing help, or even a rescue. Remember, you don’t have to be able to speak to benefit from video modeling, and you don’t have to be able to speak to follow instructions from the police.
Because some learners need more information and practice and so few tools are available, I created the BE SAFE companion curriculum. It includes 7 lessons and 300 pages of teaching tools that help parents and teachers reach diverse learners. These BE SAFE materials are available at our website, www.BeSafeTheMovie.com .
through a subscription from TeachTown (TeachTown.com). Isn’t that an important safety tool you want to see in your local school and in your child’s classroom? I know I would have wanted that opportunity for my own son with autism when he was in school!
Next time Erin and Bruce invite me to be a guest blogger I’ll talk about ways to create positive, personal relationships between your child and local police. For a preview, check out our new video and photo gallery at www.BeSafeTheMovie.com
You wouldn’t leave the front door unlocked and just hope for the best, would you? Don’t leave safety to chance when it comes to teaching your child to interact safely with the police! Whatever tools you choose, today’s a great day to get started teaching. When it comes to your child’s safety, ensuring that your child knows what to do in an encounter with officers is one more step to take for peace of mind.
Emily Iland is an award-winning author, advocate, educator, film-maker and the mom of a young man with autism. She has more than 20 years of experience training the police about autism (www.ExperienceAutism.com). She discovered that while training the police is essential, it is not enough. Youth and adults with autism and related needs also need to learn what to do when they meet the police! Emily and her son Tom are bringing BE SAFE to Omaha, NE the week of June 10 and Phoenix, AZ in August. Learn more about Emily and her many projects at www.EmilyIland.com or contact her at emily@BeSafeTheMovie.com