Understanding Autism For Dummies
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If you have autism or you care for a person with autism, making an emergency ID card is a good idea. If you make a card for someone else, educate the person with autism to keep it on hand to share with people in confusing situations, such as when they’re approached by a uniformed person or when they have difficulty interacting with others they don’t know.

The front side of wallet-size card should give the name of the person with autism and two or three contact name and numbers. The next paragraph would be a good one to copy:

My name is ___________________ and I have autism, which causes me to behave in unexpected ways. Please contact one of the people listed here: (List names and phone numbers for two or three people.)

On the back of the card, you can include information on autism and offer tips with dealing with the person with autism, such as that in the following table:

Autism Information
I may: Please help by:
Not understand what you say Not shouting
Appear deaf Speaking slowly and softly
Suddenly dart away Using concrete terms
Have difficulty speaking Giving me time to respond
Flap my hands or rock Explaining before doing
Not understand legal issues Employing visual aids for communication when possible
Be overly sensitive to shiny objects, sounds, touch, or smells Making no sudden movements and

Warning me first if you must touch me

Feel free to print out this page and use it to design your own emergency card.

About This Article

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About the book authors:

Stephen M. Shore received a regressive autism diagnosis at age 18 months, became nonverbal, and was deemed “too sick” to be treated on an outpatient basis. Today, he’s finishing a doctoral degree focused on helping people with autism lead fulfilling and productive lives. When not teaching college-level courses in special education and teaching children with autism how to play musical instruments, he consults and presents on autism-related issues internationally. Some topics of particular interest to him include comparative approaches for helping people with autism, education, and disaster preparedness for people with disabilities. He also focuses on challenges faced by adults in terms of self-advocacy, disclosure, post-secondary education, employment, interdependent living, and relationships.
Stephen holds bachelor degrees in music and accounting and information systems from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He also holds a masters degree in music education and is on the cusp of finishing his doctorate in education from Boston University. Although he seems to spend most of his time traveling in airplanes (Boeing 747-400 preferred), he resides in Brookline, Massachusetts, with his wife on the rare occasions when he’s home.

Linda G. Rastelli is an award-winning journalist, instructional designer, and author with 20 years of experience in writing and designing instruction for health, education, and business topics. In her career, she has focused on making complex and technical information understandable to the layperson. Although she has covered subjects ranging from financial ratio analysis to educational reform, her most challenging inquiry to date — an undertaking that has made her other projects look like finger painting in comparison — has been autism.
Linda holds a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Delaware and a masters degree from Columbia University. She lives on the New Jersey coast with her husband and her cat, who have reached a blissful state of detente. She hopes to keep her day job.

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