An­other piece of the puz­zle

Jig­saw puz­zle stick­ers iden­tify homes with in­di­vid­u­als on the autism spec­trum

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - Front Page - BY BRYAN TAIT bryan.tait@tc.tc

An­other piece of the puz­zle has been added to help emer­gency re­spon­ders han­dle sit­u­a­tions in­volv­ing autism. Lit­er­ally. Red stick­ers shaped like jig­saw puz­zle pieces are now avail­able from Autism In­volves Me (AIM) and the Autism So­ci­ety of New­found­land and Labrador.

The stick­ers are used to let emer­gency re­spon­ders know some­one in a home has autism spec­trum dis­or­der.

The puz­zle pieces fol­low a train­ing ses­sion or­ga­nized by the autism so­ci­ety in Port aux Basques in May.

A rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the so­ci­ety ex­plained to fire­fight­ers, po­lice of­fi­cers and paramedics how a per­son on the spec­trum might re­act to them in an emer­gency.

AIM co-founder April Bil­lard has two chil­dren on the spec­trum, and she loves the idea of the puz­zle pieces.

“That along with the first re­spon­ders train­ing gave me a lot of piece of mind,” Bil­lard said. “As a par­ent of chil­dren with autism you’re al­ways wor­ried about if there’s an emer­gency sit­u­a­tion and you’re not there to speak for your child.”

Bil­lard said both her chil­dren speak, but in a stress­ful sit­u­a­tion her son may not be able to find his words.

“If there’s a lot of loud noise and things like that he would be prone to hide away and I don’t know if they would look in the typ­i­cal places,” she said.

Bil­lard said along with an in­for­ma­tion kit, the puz­zle piece will al­low emer­gency re­spon­ders to change the way they han­dle a sit­u­a­tion and do it more ef­fec­tively.

AIM co-founder Joan Chais­son said the stick­ers should be placed in the top right cor­ner of a win­dow on the front of the house.

Chais­son said the puz­zle piece isn’t just for emer­gency re­spon­ders, but any­one who comes to the door.

She said it would give peo­ple a heads-up so if they in­ter­act with the per­son in the home on the spec­trum, they’re not sur­prised by any un­usual be­hav­iour.

“Your re­ac­tion would change,” she said.

BRYAN TAIT/TC ME­DIA

Autism In­volves Me co-founder Joan Chais­son holds the red puz­zle piece and an in­for­ma­tion kit now avail­able to par­ents. The puz­zle piece goes in the win­dow to let emer­gency per­son­nel know some­one in the home is on the autism spec­trum. The in­for­ma­tion kit has tips for par­ents as well as a form they can fill out with in­for­ma­tion about their child that can be shared with emer­gency re­spon­ders.

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