By Bruce and Erin Wilson
Our son Jay is fast! He can really move! As a matter of fact he can run way faster than he can speak. We are hopeful that will change soon, but right now it’s the truth. We looked at our situation “living with a little Olympic sprinter” and wondered what we could do to make him safe. What if we are looking the other way for a second and he takes off.
Over and over we had variations of the following conversation. We want a way that we can move through the world with more confidence. We are looking for something that can seamlessly fit into our everyday life. How can we make it so our twelve-year-old son who has Autism can get help if he needs it? Can we put something on his clothing that will help people know who he is, and how to help him if he ever wanders? What about a QR Code (Quick Response code) that can be scanned to reveal important information about our Jay? A QR Code is the square code you see all over the place on all kinds of things from billboards to ketchup bottles. It can be scanned by a free App on a smartphone or tablet to view text or websites. Maybe we could make it work for our needs.
After a lot of thinking and tweaking we put patches with an individual QR Code and number on all of Jay’s shirts and sweatshirts. The text says If I Need Help scan! It is set up so that if scanned (or the number manually entered) Jay’s personal profile is displayed. It has his picture, contact, emergency, and behavioral info. This profile can be changed in real time. It can be used to communicate in the moment for example: “We are looking in the parking garage and the reception is bad. Take him to security level 1 and we will be right up.” It is also set up so that from our website his profile can be emailed to emergency personal, or media in an emergency.
Now he always has his information with him, and it gives us all peace of mind! We have realized this can help many people who are unable to self-advocate during a critical time. We offer free membership of having a code, profile, and emergency emails. We have patches, pins, clips and clothing. Soon we will also have key chains, dog tags and iD cards.
One of our members recently shared:
Amazing! I tell every parent I meet about IfINeedHelp.org. I was a little shocked to hear that we might be one of the first success stories. We have a large family (5 children) and travel with lots of stuff. While attending an all day sporting event for our son we were asked to move to a different field after each game. We were in the process of setting up for the last game when we realized our 5 year old was missing. My husband and I left the other children with friends and split up to find him. While frantically running across the fields towards the restroom I got a call. A woman had seen the patch on my son’s shirt, scanned it, and called me. That feeling of gratefulness and being able to breathe again was overwhelming. Even more with our kiddo being autistic and possibly not able to clearly communicate his needs. We picked him up at the sandbox with lots of hugs and tears. Thank you Erin and If I Need Help, you have a client for life!
Love, Team Lueck
From our life experiences and listening to other parents we are trying to make this even more useful. The information in the profile can be changed in real time so, for example, if there is a different teacher, or caregiver for a field trip or new information, it can be entered and removed immediately. If the person does go missing the profile can be forwarded as an email to whomever is there and ready to help search.
Stay confident. Stay safe!