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The Child with Autism at Home & in the Community–Review

Take a good look at this cover. Memorize the title–The Child with Autism at Home & in the Community. If you are still new to autism, you need this book! I am not joking. No one is paying me to say that. There are over 600 easy and practical tips that autism caregivers can use NOW! They will make your life easier and help make your child’s life happier. Yet another resource from Future Horizons that I wish I had two years ago when Dr. J’s reality was still new to us.

Kathy Labosh shares her best tips from trial-and-error parenting of two children with autism. LaNita Miller uses her expertise in teaching spectrum children to help caregivers succeed. Truly The Child with Autism at Home & in the Community deserves a place on shelves across the world in libraries, schools, and homes! Continue reading


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>New TSA Rules and Special Needs–What to Do?

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As we approach the holiday season, some of us will be flying with special needs friends or family. If not, we may know someone that will. My friend Heather over at Special Needs Homeschooling has written an excellent article to help people navigate flying under the new TSA rules. Heather homeschools five children, four of whom are on the autism spectrum. She has also been battling her own physical challenges. She comes to us with much experience. After reading her insightful article, you will be able to travel with composure and confidence.

New TSA Security Measures and Your Disabled Child
 
Watch the news for a few minutes and you will hear a new story about the enhanced pat downs the TSA rolled out just before the Thanksgiving rush. As a parent of children with disabilities both physical and mental I have waited to hear how the TSA plans on dealing with the disabled. I have heard nothing. 

Consider this:

As parents approach the security check point this Christmas, they and their young daughter are going to Grandma’s. They do everything right. No liquids, powders, etc. They take off all their belts, shoes, and go through the scanners (though a bit creepy). The security guard waves dad through and then points at your daughter and waves her over for a pat down. WHY? Because the TSA is known to pick a number and every so many people they get a pat down.

PROBLEM your daughter has autism and is barely verbal. Her one word she knows well NO NO NO NO! at top decibels rings through the terminal. Now you are told if she doesn’t calm down and submit to the pat down none of you will fly. How do you tell a child that has black and white thinking or limited thinking skills that it is okay for this stranger to touch her all over? Should we?

That is exactly where many families could find themselves this coming holiday season. What do we do as parents of a child who cannot stand for the screeners, or doesn’t understand a pat  down is not a sexual assault? Are there alternatives?

Transportation Security Administrator (TSA) John Pistole said, “Clearly it’s invasive, it’s not comfortable,”  of the scans and pat-downs during the TV interview. Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/11/21/tsa-chief-says-screenings-minimally-invasive/#ixzz15y8YIXu5

I am going to show you exactly what the law says. You can go copy it off yourself and take it with you. Lets think of some ways you can go on vacation while still making the TSA screeners happy, or at least tolerant.

Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions
Can you take your cane, wheelchair, walker, or other assistive device on board with you? YES! “All disability-related equipment, aids, and devices continue to be allowed through security checkpoints once cleared through screening.”

You have the right to ask for a private room/area to be patted down.

You also have the right to take on medications, necessary diabetic equipment, etc. Here is exactly what their website reads:

Additionally, we are continuing to permit prescription liquid medications and other liquids needed by persons with disabilities and medical conditions. This includes:
* All prescription and over-the-counter medications (liquids, gels, and aerosols) including petroleum jelly, eye drops, and saline solution for medical purposes;
* Liquids including water, juice, or liquid nutrition or gels for passengers with a disability or medical condition;
* Life-support and life-sustaining liquids such as bone marrow, blood products, and transplant organs;
* Items used to augment the body for medical or cosmetic reasons such as mastectomy products, prosthetic breasts, bras or shells containing gels, saline solution, or other liquids; and,
* Frozen items are allowed as long as they are frozen solid when presented for screening. If frozen items are partially melted, slushy, or have any liquid at the bottom of the container, they must meet 3-1-1 requirements.
However, if the liquid medications are in volumes larger than 3.4 ounces (100ml) each, they may not be placed in the quart-size bag and must be declared to the Transportation Security Officer. A declaration can be made verbally, in writing, or by a person’s companion, caregiver, interpreter, or family member.

Here is another page on the must read list if you are traveling with a child with a disability.

Parents or guardians of children with disabilities should…
You should know that this page points out several times that you should be the only person removing your child from their wheelchair if necessary. Also you as the parent should never be asked to leave your child at anytime in going through security, even if you are asked to go to a private room.

The TSA suggests that you inform the Security Officer about your child’s issue.  “Offer suggestions on how to best accomplish the screening to minimize any confusion or outburst for the child.”

***UPDATE*** According to the TSA a child under the age of 12 DOES NOT have the enhanced pat down. I would be clear if your child needs a pat down “She is under 12 you WILL NOT be touching her privates.” If questioned, politely tell them or show (if you have printed off the rules) that your child is exempted from the enhanced pat down.

HERE ARE SOME OF MY SUGGESTIONS:
~Make a bee line to the Security Officer and explain your child has autism/developmental delay/anxiety disorder we will need some extra assistance to comply with your security procedures.
~The scanner would be the best security check for my child. The pat down may cause her/him to get disruptive.
~”Sir, you cannot touch her/his privates but you may do the less invasive pat down. My son/daughter would not understand because of their disability why you are touching her there. She/ He  would could cause a scene. Thank you for understanding.”
~Above all be polite! Even if you are treated in an unprofessional manner. Feel free to use your tape feature on your cell phone!
~Call ahead to the airport you are leaving from. Tell the airport security you are traveling with a child with a disability. Ask them what to do and take a name and number in case when you get there you have a problem.
~Consider getting a letter from your child’s doctor especially if the disability is an invisible one.

So you do everything right but…
Here is the story of  man that did everything right, as per the TSA website. He was ignored and humiliated. TSA Pat-down leaves traveler covered in urine By Harriet Baskas

Cancer Survivor Says She Was Forced to Remove Prosthetic Breast During Pat-Down

You can opt to not fly. About.com How Would You Explain a TSA Pat-Down to Your Child? by Terri Mauro

Courtesy of a FaceBook friend here is another opt out. http://wewontfly.com/

Finally know that the more you push the more you will be scrutinized. Don’t back down! You need to know your rights and stand firm on them! You have the right and obligation to protect your child from harm both physical and mental.

PLEASE post your tips! There are many families that will be traveling soon. Let’s work together and create as many safe options as possible for families dealing with special needs.

Again, many thanks to Heather for this information! You can learn more about Heather here.