Wednesday letters: Autism safety awareness, Bruno, selfless driving tips
Help keep people with autism safe
As a parent of an individual with autism, my biggest fear is that my son will wander from a safe environment and away from his caregiver. According to the CDC, 1 in 44 children and 1 in 88 adults have autism nationally. It is important to create awareness of the safety concerns associated with autism. Why? Wandering or leaving a safe environment is not uncommon for those with autism or other intellectual disabilities. In fact:
People with autism are three times more likely to die from injury than a neurotypical peer. For individuals under age 15, it is 40 times more likely.
When a person with ASD wanders, nearly half of all fatalities occur in under one hour.
20% of wandering/elopements occur from the place of residence. Risk is higher when traveling, visiting relatives, when engaged in outdoor recreation or in a vehicle.
40% of wandering/elopements take place when transitioning activities or locations.
Drowning is the leading cause of premature death in autism. 71% of all deaths for children with ASD between 2011 and 2017 were accidental drownings. They are 160 times more likely to drown than nondisabled peers, and 76% occur in natural bodies of water.
As a parent of an autistic son, these statistics are terrifying. Virtually all autism parents have had experiences where their child got away, be it for a moment or for several hours. Awareness of this issue is of utmost importance. If you encounter a person with autism or intellectual disability who has become separated from their caregiver, give this person space, use simple sentences with a kind voice, avoid quick movements and contact local law enforcement.
Ascendigo Autism Services has developed training materials to educate and assist first responders if a person with autism wanders from a safe environment, and I am immensely grateful that our local law enforcement has these resources. Ascendigo has also developed materials that will help caregivers and schools implement safety measures. Thank you to the Roaring Fork Valley Community for its commitment to keeping our children safe.
Kim Birch, Glenwood Springs
Bruno’s ‘on the mark’
The letter “Off the Mark” by Bruno Kirchenwitz recently (6/11/22) was “on the mark” and a very good letter, naming problems that our country is facing with this present administration.
He outlines everything, including Afghanistan, open borders, inflation, school shootings in “gun-free schools,” and many more too numerous to mention. It is a good read, and should be read.
Thank you to Bruno and thank you to the Post Independent for the printing.
Sharon Ramey, Gypsum
Drive with others in mind
The accelerators in our vehicles are indeed miraculous, allowing us to move tons of weight with a mere depression of the foot. It does not, however, connect us to a time machine (arriving in the blink of an eye) or a magic wand (making drivers ahead of us disappear).
Take a minute, think about it, it’s important to know what kind of driver we are: emotional or logical?
Emotional drivers are self-centered, stomp on the gas, stop light race, bumper chase, fuel waste, dart from one lane to another and threaten all on the road and along the road.
Logical drivers accelerate gradually, preserve two seconds worth of life-saving spacing, acknowledge that they share the road ahead with other vehicles and flow with the “green” time of traffic lights. At the end of the day they’ve maximized their fuel dollars and driven with everyone’s safety in mind.
Why persist in driving like there’s no tomorrow? It just might be that day, if not for you, for someone else.
Diane Reynolds, Steering Committee member, Take A Minute/Slow Down in Town, Glenwood Springs
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