AUTISTIC NICK GETS AN AUTISM ALERT CARD
Last Saturday I spent the morning searching and researching for suitable Autism articles that I would post on my Autistic Nick’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AutisticNickAU
One of those stories was about an Autism Alert Card that could be ordered from this website https://www.autismspectrum.org.au/alert-card
But what is an Autism Alert Card?
THE AUTISM ALERT CARD
The Autism Alert Card is free, plastic and credit card sized and may be carried by an Autistic individual to identify that they are on the Autistic spectrum.
The purpose of the card is designed to aid those with Autism communicate that they are Autistic more effectively.
The card is for autistic people to show others if they are upset or likely to become upset. The person shown the card should then change the way they talk to the autistic individual.
The aim of showing the card is to defuse the potentially difficult situation and allow the autistic individual to feel safe and secure so they may become less agitated and anxious and the situation dealt with in the best way for all involved.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE AN AUTISM ALERT CARD?
The Autism Alert Card can be issued to individuals aged 10 or over who live anywhere in Devon, although similar schemes are in place in other areas of the country and so the card and awareness about the disability may be recognised elsewhere.
HOW WILL THE AUTISM ALERT CARD BENEFIT AUTISTIC INDIVIDUALS?
People on the Autistic spectrum can often feel overwhelmed by noise, eye contact, questions, feelings, touch, smells, conversation, lights, people… This especially happens in stressful situations and it can then be a challenge to tell others about being Autistic.
The Autism Alert Card has been designed for autistic people to show to those they are interacting with should they be feeling distressed or likely to become so. It is then for the recipient to acknowledge this and amend the style of interaction in accordance with the individual’s needs.
Handling the Autism alert card in awkward or difficult situations can also serve as sensory focus for an autistic individual to keep other sensory issues from intruding. This supportive feeling may also be reinforced in the knowledge that there are many organisations supporting the card.
HOW WILL THE AUTISM ALERT CARD BENEFIT THE RECIPIENT?
When an Autistic person shows their Autism Alert card it is likely they will be feeling stressed and need assistance or likely to become distressed which may include being expected to conform to mainstream norms that do not feel right to the Autistic person.
Early identification that a person is Autistic will allow the recipient to adapt their interaction style based on the individual’s needs. This will assist in preventing any possible unusual behaviour from being misinterpreted by the recipient. In turn, this early identification may assist in preventing a potentially difficult situation from being approached in a way that could escalate the circumstances for all involved causing further distress to the Autistic person.
THE INFORMATION ON THE FRONT OF THE CARD IS AS FOLLOWS
INFORMATION ON THE CARD CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING;
- I Am Autistic
- General information about Autism
- General information about basic support strategies that can help everyone communicate effectively
- Information about meltdowns
- Space to record your own name and the name and contact details of a trusted person who can help support you in an emergency
The Aspect Autism Alert card is an Autistic led initiative. The Autism Alert Card has been designed by Autistic individuals and this particular card will be most suitable for adolescents and adults.
The card maybe helpful in a number of situations which could include
- To explain difficulties wearing a breathing mask where compulsory due to COVID19
- If you feel anxious in an unfamiliar environment and need assistance
- If you feel unsafe and need to ask for help
- During interactions with police, fire, ambulance or security staff
- When you don’t have access to your preferred communication strategies
- Whenever you feel other people knowing you are autistic would be helpful
I hasn’t considered that I would be in need/it would be useful to have one of these cards as someone with high functioning Autism it had never occurred to me that I may need to rely on something as simple as this to assist me, but then I got to thinking of all the stressful situations that I find myself in on daily basis and having this card handy containing all of this information made complete sense to me.
I feel that I could have certainly benefitted from having this during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, when I felt unsure about going outside and uncertain of what would happen when I did, or when I have to go to a meeting in East Perth and I have to travel by train and the train is busy and noisy and there are huge crowds of people and I become disorientated by the whole process, if I would have been in procession of one of these cards then I would have felt that I could have mentally coped a lot better than I did and I would have been able to communicate my thoughts and feelings about what I was going through/processing a whole lot better.
I’m not saying that it’s a lifesaver per say but I’m saying that I would have certainly put my mind at ease if I was to have had one of these inside my wallet.
The other part of this that’s really great is that it’s been put together by an Autistic Association/Organisation as well as Autistic people themselves, our input has been asked for and the results are now in the form of this card.
This is a great move on Aspect part, when you involve those from the Autism community it sends out a strong message that we are valued members of society and that our opinions matter.
For more information and to order a card please click on this link
Carry On The Conversation
Will you be ordering yourself an Autism Alert Card?
Let me know in the comments section below
As always, I can also be found on Twitter:@AutisticNickAU and on the Autistic Nick Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/AutisticNickAU/
Thank you for reading and I will see you next time for more thoughts from across the spectrum.