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Safety IDs for Nonverbal Kids to Wear on Disney Vacations - Special Mouse - Unofficial Disney Parks and Travel for Your Special Needs Special Mouse – Unofficial Disney Parks and Travel for Your Special Needs
Special Mouse – Unofficial Disney Parks and Travel for Your Special Needs

Special Mouse Podcast

Safety IDs for Nonverbal Kids to Wear on Disney Vacations

Lost parents sign

Over the years, with the help of ABA and speech therapy, our sixteen year-old with Autism has gradually gained more speech. He’s not quite conversational, mind you, but he can understand what is being said to him and is able to communicate his needs. And he can answer basic questions like “What is your name?” and “What is your phone number?”

This was not the case when we first traveled to Walt Disney World in 2003. At the age of five, he was practically non-verbal. So you can imagine how worried I was about the possibility of him getting separated from us in a busy theme park. Even if he did manage to find a Cast Member (we repeatedly showed the kids pictures of what their name tags looked like), he wouldn’t be able to answer any of their questions!

The most obvious intervention — one used by many parents of non- or low-verbal children — is to sew labels into the children’s clothing. Well, that idea wouldn’t work for Billy because of his tactile hypersensitivity – he couldn’t tolerate the feel of the labels in his clothes. They seemed almost painful for him. Ditto for any type of ID bracelet or “dog” tag.

My husband came up with the perfect solution. He ordered Billy a Road ID that could be worn on one of his sneakers. It was just like the one he himself wore when running. All of Billy’s emergency contact information could be placed on the Shoe ID and it would not touch his skin at all!

Billy tolerated the Shoe ID so well that when we returned home we just left it on his sneaker. It attaches with Velcro, so it can be easily transferred to another pair of shoes if needed.

RoadID

 

If your child will tolerate it, the Road ID can also be worn on the ankle, the wrist, or as a “dog tag.”

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My friend Heidi (also an Autism mom) developed her own version of sensory-friendly identification which she currently sells on Etsy. Safety ID Stickers for Kids hide your child’s personal information while still being highly visible if they need help. Just stick one on your child’s shirt and go! You pick from the many designs available for the outer sticker and Heidi custom prints the inner sticker with the contact information that you provide her. The stickers are weather proof and the ink will not run even when submerged in water. The stickers stay on until you take them off and leave no adhesive residue on the clothing like tape can.

SafetyIDStickers

 

They aren’t my cup of tea (because the information is so readily visible to strangers), but many parents choose Tattoos With a Purpose. Simply attach the temporary tattoo to your child in a visible area and using the provided marker write down a contact number on the tattoo in case your child goes missing.

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Temporary tattoos are non-toxic, hypoallergenic, and can be removed with rubbing alcohol or baby oil.

Another ID system developed by an Autism mom uses smart phone technology. If I Need Help is a non-profit organization that provides a place where the multitude of information about a person with special needs can be kept in one place. This information can be accessed by whoever needs it at the time. Profiles can be accessed manually from any web browser or via scanned QR Codes. QR Codes can be read quickly by any smartphone. QR reader Apps can be downloaded for free from App stores.

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These QR Code patches can be sewn onto favorite items of clothing or…

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You can purchase a variety of clothing with the QR Code patches already attached.

 

Utilizing a Safety ID system for your non- or low-verbal child is an effective way to reduce the stress associated with touring a crowded environment in which the child may wander and become separated from you. Choose a system that works best for you and use it to have a more enjoyable vacation!

How about you? Does your family use a safety ID system that you like?

The first person to write a comment on this blog will receive one QR Code Patch compliments of Erin from If I Need Help!

Thanks for reading,

Kathy

Posted in: Blog

Leave a Comment (13) →

13 Comments

  1. Ed Russell October 29, 2014

    I love Road. ID. I wear one all the time. I use the one that comes with a pouch and fits on a shoe, because it gives me an extra pocket for I’d cards, etc. It came in handy at the Marine Corps Marathon. I had a small issue after the race, and asked for medical. Instead of spending a LOT of time dealing with my medical history and medication list, the doctor could deal wit me while my info was pulled up. Once it was up, he took a glance and then a long look at the info and then at me. Let’s just say he was impressed that I was even able to get around much less do the MCM.

    (reply)
    • Erin October 31, 2014

      Hi Ed,
      Thank you so much for passing your prize on to the next person…me 🙂
      My son is on the Autism spectrum and is nonverbal. We have yet to try something like this but he’s getting older now (6) and he’s quick! This will give us some peace of mind. You’re the best! Enjoy your day!
      Erin

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  2. Erin October 30, 2014

    This is a fantastic blog! My son is nonverbal and we will definitely be checking out these options to keep him safe! Thank you!!!!

    (reply)
    • admin October 31, 2014

      Hi Erin! Thanks for the compliment; I’m glad that you are enjoying Special Mouse! Ed had the first comment but asked that I pass the prize on to YOU! Please send your mailing info to specialmouse@gmail.com and I will send you the QR Code Patch from If I Need Help.

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      • Erin October 31, 2014

        Thank you so much! So excited!

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  3. Linda Cutrupi October 30, 2014

    Kathy,
    As a special needs travel expert, your blog is invaluable to helping my clients navigate and enjoy Disney. The information is current and easily understood. It certainly helps me advise my clients and make their vacation the best possible.
    Linda

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    • admin October 31, 2014

      Thank you, Linda! Always happy to help!

      (reply)
  4. Cs Wife October 30, 2014

    Just as info for other autism parents, if you are staying onsite and your child is willing to tolerate wearing a Magic Band, the Magic Band will allow cast members to find out where you are staying and they can also use the contact info you left with the front desk of the resort to contact you. Our nonverbal 12 year-old was willing to wear one last trip and I felt much better knowing if he got lost, that info would be available to cast members to reunite us.

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    • admin October 31, 2014

      Excellent point! The Magic Bands do contain information that can help Cast Members locate parents! Thanks for commenting!

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  5. Jackie October 30, 2014

    My son will not wear tags or stickers, but will wear a tattoo. We have tags printed with my cell and ‘I have non verbal’ autism. We’ve been practicing at events signing help and pointing to the tat.

    We have gotten some good advice from the first responders:
    1) Because I worry about ds being non verbal and it is something we experience daily, my priority was autism…. however as one responder pointed out, he would quickly figure out that part. What he wouldn’t know, and would need to know in a crisis is that my son has epilepsy. My priority was skewed (we are ordering another tat to wear with the first.)

    2) If some creep gets my cell number, I can change my number…. again it’s a priorities thing. What are the odds a predator uses information on a tat… to what call me?… versus what are the odds my child gets separated and someone can call me. If a predator can see the tat its already too late as he has my son.

    3) Put the tat where someone naturally reaching for the child will see it. We are now putting on the top of his hand… and if I have to replace more frequently, no problem.

    4) First responders aren’t really trained to look in the places tags or tattoos or stickers are placed. We found most said they’d never seen or heard of such things…. make sure it is EASILY visible and recognizable. They don’t know to look.

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    • admin October 31, 2014

      Thanks, Jackie — excellent suggestions! As a former EMT I know that we are trained to always look for Medic Alert Tags, usually found at the wrist or neck. Some people with sensory issues simply will not wear IDs that touch their skin. In those cases, the temporary tattoos and stickers are the next best thing.

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  6. CriesDuringWishes October 30, 2014

    I got the stickers you described from Etsy, and they were perfect for us. We even had a couple families ask us about them, saying they wished they had it for their typical kids. We stuck it on the back of my son’s shirt so he didn’t remove it and it didn’t bother him. They are also easy to carry around extras or pre-attach to spare clothes (for when you need a mid-park costume change…).

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    • admin October 31, 2014

      Hi Cries! I’m so happy the safety stickers worked for you and your family — I’ll be sure to pass this along to Heidi! Thanks for stopping by to comment!

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