Project Keep Me Safe

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Foundation for Exceptional Children of Suffield (FECS) was founded in 2017 by Jill Caron and Sue Davis. The mission of FECS is to create awareness, provide information and support to Suffield residents with special needs. It is the purpose of the foundation to create a more inclusive, educated community in order to better serve ALL members of Suffield, CT. Each year, FECS will develop a fundraising drive in order to bring awareness, education and/or support to a particular group of special needs residents in the Suffield community.

2017 Fundraising Drive is “Project Keep Me Safe”. The purpose of Project Keep Me Safe is to educate Suffield’s Emergency Personnel on the interaction and response to an emergency situation involving children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and to provide information to community members, parents and caregivers on the wandering/elopement (running away) risk for children with ASD and strategies to maintain their safety. Project Keep Me Safe t-shirts are being sold as a fundraiser by FECS for all of the events associated with Project Keep Me Safe and donations are being solicited as well.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), The Autism prevalence in the United States is estimated at one in 68 births (CDC, 2014). More than 3.5 billion Americans live with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and cost U.S. citizens $236-262 billion annually (Buescher et al, 2014). Elopement and wandering is a significant concern within the ASD community. Roughly half (48%) of children with ASD attempt to elope from a safe environment, a rate nearly four times higher than their unaffected siblings and children with ASD are eight times more likely to elope between the ages of 7 and 10 than their typically-developing sibling. More than one third of ASD children who wander/elope are never or rarely able to communicate their name, address, or phone number. In 2009, 2010, and 2011, accidental drowning accounted for 91% of tota.l U.S. deaths reported in children with an ASD ages 14 and younger subsequent to wandering/elopement.

Training for First Responders: Autism and Law Enforcement Education (ALEC): Training is offered to police officers, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics and hospital emergency room personnel by presenters who are first responders that possess experience communicating with people with ASD in emergency situations. ALEC training for CT is funded by a grant from Bailey’s Team for Autism; therefore, the cost of First Responder Training is free to 911 response agencies. The program for fire and EMS is combined. The police program is police only. FECS will provide breakfast and/or lunch plus a small snack to the emergency personnel who participate in the ALEC programming. For more information, please contact Sue Davis or Jill Caron at the Foundation for Exceptional Children of Suffield (FECS)Phone (S) 860-559-3832 (J) 850-90-3434.

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