Guest Blogger

This article was first published on cerebralpalsyguidance.com

Around half of all children with cerebral palsy also have epilepsy. Both cerebral palsy and epilepsy are neurological disorders that often coincide with one another.

What is Epilepsy?

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders, epilepsy encompasses a “spectrum of brain disorders” in which the pattern of normal neuronal activity is disrupted. When the neuronal activity is disturbed, convulsions and muscles spasms result (known as seizures). During these episodes, some children will experience loss of consciousness. As the fourth most common neurological disorder in the world, epilepsy can affect anyone at any age. Around  100,000 people develop epilepsy each year.

There are a number of different types of seizures, and people with epilepsy experience one or several of the various different types. It’s important to note that there is a difference in epilepsy and seizures. Someone who has  one seizure only, generally does not have epilepsy. Epilepsy is marked by recurrent seizures. If someone has at least two or more seizures, they’re considered epileptic.

For more information on seizures, including different types and subtypes, visit our article, Cerebral Palsy and Seizures.

Epilepsy Causes

In around half of epilepsy cases, there’s no known cause.In  other instances, epilepsy can be caused by a number of factors, including:

Prenatal Injuries

During infancy, an infant’s brain is highly susceptible to damage, which can occur when the mother isn’t correctly diagnosed and treated for infections, maternal smoking and drinking, oxygen deficiencies, and poor nutrition.

Developmental Disorders 

As mentioned earlier, cerebral palsy and epilepsy often coincide. Other developmental disorders that can be associated with epilepsy include autism and neurofibromatosis.

Head Trauma

Head trauma, such as birth injuries, car accidents, or any accident in which the head experiences traumatic damage can lead to epilepsy.

Diseases

A number of infectious diseases, such as viral encephalitis and meningitis, can lead to epilepsy.

Genetic Factors 

Researchers indicate that specific types of recurrent seizures are linked to genetics. However, genes are usually only part of the reason for epilepsy causes. In other words, there are typically other causes tied into genetic factors. Generalized seizures are the most common type connected to genetic causes.

Oxygen Loss 

Cerebral palsy is caused by lack of oxygen to the brain before, during, or after birth, which cause seizures in babies.

Epilepsy Symptoms

The main symptom of epilepsy is recurring seizures, which are marked by:

  • Uncontrollable, jerking body movements, usually in the arms and legs
  • Loss of awareness
  • Confused, spacey feeling
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty talking
  • Rigid, tense muscles
  • Skin may look pale or flushed
  • Racing heart
  • Dilate pupils
  • Sweating
  • Tongue biting
  • Tremors

Keep in mind that not every child will experience all of the aforementioned symptoms.

Epilepsy Treatment

Mayo Clinic staff report that physicians usually start epilepsy treatment through medication. However, since each child is different, finding the correct medication, along with the right dosage, can be an arduous process. Doctors usually prescribe the first medication at a low dosage to see how effective it is, and how many side effects the child experiences. Most epilepsy medications come along with side effects, which can include dizziness, weight gain, fatigue, and more, depending on which medication is prescribed.

Around half of the people who begin medication find success with this method of treatment, and with continued use, will become seizure-free. If medications fail to work, physicians may recommend vagus nerve stimulation, a type of treatment that involves placing a vagus nerve stimulator device into the patient’s chest. The device sends electrical energy to the brain and the vagus nerve, which reduces seizure activity between 20%-40%.

The ketogenic diet is another treatment option which is especially beneficial to children. It’s a strict diet, however, that entails substantially lowering carbohydrates while increasing fats. The body uses fats for energy, as opposed to carbohydrates.

You’ll need to work closely with your physician, as well as a dietitian or nutritional counselor,  if you decided to have your child try the ketogenic diet, as some children may experience adverse side effects, including dehydration and nutritional deficiencies. However, with proper medical supervision, the side effects are usually rare. Around 10% to 15% of children who go on the ketogenic diet are seizure-free within a year, although it’s unclear exactly how the diet prevents seizures.

If all other treatments have been exhausted, surgery may be the next option. Surgery is generally only performed when doctors determine that the seizures occur in a specific part of the brain that doesn’t hinder vision, speech, hearing, or motor function. During surgery, the part of the brain that’s causing seizures is removed.

Studies on Cerebral Palsy and Epilepsy

According to a scientific study published the European Journal of Epilepsy, spastic tetraplegia and spastic diplegia are the most common types of cerebral palsy associated with epilepsy. Symptoms of epilepsy generally start for children with cerebral palsy during the first year of life, some within the first month after birth.

Epilepsy Prognosis

If children respond well to medicationa, there’s a good chance that they’ll be seizure-free one day, and may be able to discontinue epilepsy medication use. However, the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMM) states that long-term survival rates are lowered when traditional treatment options such as medications and surgery fail to work. Accidents from uncontrollable seizures also play into lower survival rate.

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Nov 15, 2016

Anne is an abuse survivor and decided to share her story with us during Domestic Violence Awareness month.

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Defining abuse is the most difficult for survivors; acknowledging what they’ve experienced as abusive. I have countless stories as someone who has been abused and came out the other side safely. This isn’t the easiest thing to write about, but if sharing it with others can help even one person recognize their situation as abusive and seek help, it’s been worth it for me.

For one woman I know, it started with a man beating his partner and insulting her, but telling her she had nowhere else to go. It came in the form of the drugs he introduced to her and supplied her with to keep her from getting sick, but withheld them to get what he wanted. It came in the form of eating away at her self-esteem.  Then an unplanned pregnancy and resentment for the body of a sick child she couldn’t afford to provide for, who will bear the blame for the end of her pursuit of higher education or more qualified jobs.

The birth of this sickly bundle of resentment is a daily reminder of her abusive relationship, but it allows her imperative need for misplaced attention. The upper middle class lifestyle she’s long dreamed of slips further out of her grasp as the struggles at home increase, inversely, her health declines. She’s lived a difficult life, but she’s grown to accept it via her undiagnosed Munchausen’s by proxy. She’s grown disillusioned and depressed but is still able to masquerade the violence she endures at the hands of her husband with her unrelated illnesses. Unfortunately, as time goes on, she begins the final phase of the cycle and doles out her own abuse to deal with the trauma of hers. This leads to her role in the abuse of her own child. That woman is my mother.

domestic-violence-social-graphic5That child, and later, her younger sibling, experienced many broken bones, black eyes, bruises and noticeably lowered self-esteem. It’s not always as obvious as the physical injuries left by violence. A lot of the pain and suffering comes from emotional abuse, which doesn’t always leave marks you can see.

My mother was a very popular and involved woman in the town we lived in and somehow what she went through, but also what she had put us through went unnoticed, despite everyone knowing her and even more knowing her “scarier” side. No one seemed to question or notice why she was always carrying around pills, or would disappear for months at a time, or never seemed to be around her own kids.

No one in town knew my dad. He’s a quiet man who keeps to himself. He used to be loud and raucous and have a thirst for liquor. He’s also brilliant and self-made and hilarious, but that’s the thing about abusive people: they’re not necessarily a terror all the time. They blend in with you and me. They can be right in front of you and you wouldn’t even know it. I always say my mother’s a nice lady but not a good mom. It can be hard to tell if you aren’t in an abusive relationship with them the nightmare they could be for someone else and perpetuating a system of violence.

I withstood my parents’ physical and emotional abuse as well as their on-again, off-again neglect and abandonment until I was 17, floating from relatives that didn’t want me to foster homes, homelessness and living with friends. I was able to get out but never stay out until I was 22.

I wish I could say it ended there and I lived happily ever after, but that’s not the case. After my escape, I found myself struggling with depression, anxiety, insomnia and PTSD. Most of these diagnoses existed well before seeking freedom, but went undiagnosed as a result of an inability to seek proper medical attention. At 17, I was diagnosed as having temporal lobe epilepsy as a direct result of my extreme head trauma at the hands of my father. I had to learn how to work with my body while not having much or any control over it anymore. It felt like the pain and punishment would never end; like what my parents had always said and did was something I deserved.

A few suicide attempts, 3 hospitalizations, 7 years of therapy down, and 6 pills a day to keep my brain and body in check and it still feels like an uphill battle a lot of the time. I suffered through many toxic friendships and relationships because I didn’t know anything else. It does get better though. I’m not scared anymore, my nightmares are minimal, my face remains unbruised. I have a partner now that treats me with kindness, patience, and respect.

domestic-violence-social-graphic4b-01If you find yourself reading this and it sounds too familiar, please do yourself a favor and remember something I wish I had heard when I was younger: you don’t owe these people anything. However hard it is, when it’s safe for you to do so, leave or seek help. Ending toxic relationships and escaping abusive people can open your once-painful existence to a sense of freedom and happiness you never realized was possible. Utilize whatever support system you have whenever possible. There are apps that can help you sneakily seek help if you live with your abuser. There are hotlines, therapists, support groups and in/outpatient programs specifically designed to help you get away, stay away, and deal with the posttraumatic stress and any other lasting effects of enduring abuse. Survival is possible. If I can make it out alive, I believe in you. You may just need the right tools.

Abuse against women and domestic violence are two issues very close to me and my life has been plagued with both since before I even entered this world.

In order to prevent or end an abusive situation, we must first define abuse and its targets. If it hurts consistently, it’s abuse. Merriam-Webster defines abuse as, “to treat (a person or an animal) with cruelty or violence, especially regularly or repeatedly.” Abuse can be physical, emotional, manipulative, or sexual. It can exist at any level of relationship: between parents/guardians and children, spouses or partners, employers and co-workers even friends.

Anyone can be a victim of abuse and anyone can be an abuser. Former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop is cited as saying “Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 to 44.” Women, transgender people and gender nonconforming individuals are currently the majority of reported survivors of domestic violence, but abuse doesn’t discriminate.

Age, race, ethnicity, religious denomination, mental or physical health, level of education, and socioeconomic class can be factors in the abuser’s history or the abused’s unwillingness or inability to leave safely, but they do not cause the abusers themselves. Abuse is often caused by learned behaviors, substance dependencies, mental health issues or any combination of the aforementioned.

 

1-800-799-7233 (National Domestic Violence Hotline)

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Nov 1, 2016

“…I slowly made my way towards the door, his gun pointed at my back. I knew this was it. He was going to kill me.”

 

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My name is Loretta and this is the story of how my ex-husband pointed a gun at me and pulled the trigger.

2003

In 2003, I was a single mother of a beautiful, blonde hair, blue eyed 2-year old little girl, Sarah.

I met a broken man named Jack. I thought I could help him. I felt my love was strong enough to heal him. I thought I could lift him from the demons of an alcoholic suffering from severe depression. I knew this was going to be a tough road, but we would tackle it together. My love and energy were strong enough.

From 2003-2009, I watched him drink from the time he woke up until the time he passed out at night every single day. By the time the sun started falling, he became depressed, angry, and hateful until he passed out in his recliner. This was his daily routine.

2005

domestic-violence-wp-graphic3_dw-01I soon realized how jealous Jack was.

In 2005, I stepped down to a part-time shift at work because he didn’t like me working with other men. If I took too long at the grocery store, I had to tell him who I had seen, who I spoke to, and what we spoke about. There were times I had to show him the receipt to prove I came straight home after leaving the grocery store.

In his eyes, everyone was a threat.

I often wanted to cry out for help, but was too fearful of the consequences.  I couldn’t risk it.  Like many others, I chose silence over freedom.

Besides, Jack was very good at hiding the verbal and mental abuse from other people, especially my daughter. Or, at least I thought he was.

2006

In 2006, I worked in a 9-1-1 dispatch center and answered a 9-1-1 call, “What is the address of your emergency?”  The deep voice on the other end said, “The emergency is at your house.” It was Jack. “Loretta, I can’t move.”

After dispatching rescue to my own home, I followed and found Jack completely immobilized. His powerless body was quickly transported to a nearby hospital, and within four hours he started experiencing delirium tremens (DTs), one of the most severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

At the hospital, the verbal and mental abuse became relentless, and this time he didn’t wait for others to leave the room. The humiliation was excruciating.

Jack spent the following two months in the ICU where he battled respiratory distress, respiratory failure, liver failure, and kidney failure – all due to his alcohol abuse.  Christmas Eve marked the day he was finally released from the ICU. His Christmas present was having his trach removed.

After the trauma, relearning how to walk and eat on his own, Jack only waited 3 months until he started drinking again.

2008

domestic-violence-social-graphic2-01New Year’s Eve 2009 was a turning point for me.

I cozied up with my daughter and when the clock struck twelve, Sarah and I exchanged kisses and happily gabbed about our predictions for the year to come.

Ready for bed, Sarah passed Jack’s man cave on her way to the bathroom. Since he had been drinking since noon, this was enough to set him off.

His drunken body hovered over me, calling me names, threatening me, and reminding me of how worthless I am.  His rage was enough to scare me into silence, but instead I begged him to stop. By the time Sarah came out of the bathroom, Jack had passed out in the next room.

As I sat staring at the blank wall in front of me, I heard Sarah’s gentle voice over my shoulder, “Mom, do you ever just want it to be you and me?”

My heart broke into a million pieces knowing Sarah had been aware of the abuse and negativity polluting our household over the years. I couldn’t breathe.

As the tears of hurt, shame and feeling like a horrible mother streamed down my face, Sarah reached out to grab my hand, “Mom, I love Jack, but I want it to be just me and you.”

This was the moment I started planning our lives without him.

2009

On New Year’s Day, I couldn’t sleep. My mind was racing about my and Sarah’s new future together.

I immediately started downsizing our belongings and putting money into a private savings account.

I was mentally preparing myself to leave him, and I think he could sense it.

peggy_blog-quote_graphic-02On January 17, I returned home after an exhausting shift at the dispatch center to find Jack waiting for me in the kitchen with his favorite drink resting on the table in front of him. The hollow look in his eyes made my stomach turn.

Something wasn’t right.

He was paranoid again, accusing me of cheating. Except this time he didn’t yell, cuss, slams doors or put his fist through a wall. Instead, he quietly turned his head towards me and demanded I get my stuff and leave.

I knew through the dark tone in his voice I needed to leave or I may not be given a second chance.  I quickly grabbed some clothes and personal items for Sarah and left.

The very next day, I signed a lease agreement to a two-bedroom apartment. It wasn’t perfect, but it was ours.

 

Months Later

After we moved, Sarah had very little contact with Jack, but the mental abuse I endured only worsened as his control over me waned.

After divorce, I continued to clean his house, took him to the doctors, and did his grocery shopping.  It would take six years and a near-death experience for me to walk away completely.

2015

The year 2015 came fast.  I was on my way to the store when I received a text from Jack begging me to get him out of the house. I decided there was no harm in letting him come along for the ride. I turned around and headed toward his house.

As I made my way down to his man cave, I was struck by a wave of bourbon, the smell so strong I could taste its smoky flavor on my tongue.

He was the drunkest I had ever seen him. He could barely hold his drink up straight.

I told Jack I couldn’t be around him, not like this.  He begged me to stay. I knew I needed to leave.

As I turned around to face the door, the desperate sound in Jack’s voice changed, “So, who are you going to see?”

peggy_blog-quote_graphic2-02I shook my head in disappointment and took one step closer towards the door.

At that moment, Jack pulled out a gun and pressed the barrel against his right temple.

I stood frozen in place. My heart was pounding so hard I was sure he could hear it from across the room.

I reached out my hands and very calmly asked him to put the gun down. “It doesn’t have to be this way,” I told him. “Please don’t do this.”

I watched in slow motion as he adjusted his grip, turning the gun to aim at me. The world around me stopped, and the only thing I could manage to concentrate on was Sarah.

“Jack, look at me,” I said firmly. “I’m going to turn around now, and I’m going to walk out this door. You will never see me back here again. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

Right then, I slowly made my way towards the door, his gun pointed at my back. I knew this was it. He was going to kill me. I simply couldn’t bear the thought of Sarah growing up without her mother.

Reaching for the knob, I struggled to control my trembling hands. The warm breeze against my tear-soaked face was a welcomed reminder I was still alive.

And that’s when I heard it: the piercing sound of a single gunshot.

The sound shocked me motionless. Seconds went by before I realized I hadn’t been hit.

Did he shoot himself?

Before I could fully process what had happened, I crawled into the front seat of my car and called Jack’s parents. I was so hysterical they could hardly make out the words I was saying.

Jack’s mother assured me his father would be there any minute, but I couldn’t let his father be the one to discover his body.

Carefully inching my way toward the house, I watched as the sun reflected against the bullet hole in the glass door.  Inside I could see that Jack was still alive and passed out in his chair.

Walking back to my car, I knew this was goodbye. I would walk away. Jack and all of his demons would forever be in my past.

2016

Cutting all ties with Jack was not easy and it still isn’t. Suddenly, I was forced to acknowledge the years of abuse I endured and learn how to overcome it. In the beginning, I felt worse than ever: my anxiety and depression were off the charts. I couldn’t handle everyday stress. Night terrors were a frequent occurrence. Even loud noises made me jump out of my skin. The worst part was that I blamed myself every day for letting the abuse go on as long as it did.

Today, I am breaking my silence. I am accepting what I cannot change and owning my experience. I gradually entered a healing process where I am learning to love, appreciate, and respect myself again.

To me, the word “healing” means not being an enabler. It means not running to him every time I hear he’s hit rock bottom. It means taking back control of my life. And yes, it means forgiving Jack, but most importantly, it means forgiving me because I am not to blame.

I’ve chosen to live in the now. I actively do things that make me feel happy and whole, like meditating and spending time outdoors. I also found comfort in being honest with Sarah about Jack and our abusive relationship. My hope is she will take my experiences and learn to only support healthy relationships that bring her joy in the future.

Thank you for listening. I hope my story helps someone get out of a similar situation and find his or her voice.

If you are concerned for your own safety or the safety of a loved one, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.

 

This blog article was originally posted on the Rave Mobile Safety website. Click here to view the original post.

 

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Oct 14, 2016

Today I found out about a brand-new service called Smart911 where one fills out a profile that includes telephone number, address and other info. If an emergency comes up first responders will know who you are and what to look for when they come to the rescue.

Being a single woman with ASD, it was recommended that I sign up for Smart911 just in case the worst happens such as another fall resulting in broken bones or if I were to be in an accident in one of the cabs I ride in. The sign-up process is lengthy and tricky; you have to enter a password and confirm it which was difficult, but I was able to master that and proceed. I filled out a profile with home and work addresses and filled in information about the buildings, including exterior appearance and whether or not an entry code was needed to get in. This is important in case one is trapped in a burning building or if a building should be damaged by a snowstorm or tornado.

In addition, one is asked to fill in personal information including any medical conditions (I indicated ASD and hard of hearing in my right ear), eye and hair color, and weight and height. I provided emergency contact information and a photo so that I could be more easily identified should an emergency arise. The profile is comprehensive and the process is lengthy, but necessary. This is especially important for folks with autism and a seizure disorder as the more severe seizures can render one unconscious and result in falls and other serious injuries.

This is a wonderful resource and I feel good knowing that I am in their system in case the worst happens. This is an especially important for older, single individuals with ASD and people with more severe physical impairments such as cerebral palsy and people with intellectual impairments including Down syndrome and Fragile X. I was glad to find out about this and now that I’m in I can feel safe and sound.

 

Safe and Sound: Smart911 to the Rescue!

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Jan 26, 2016

Laura Smith lives in Houghton Lake, Michigan and writes for the Michigan Savings and More blog where this post was originally posted here.

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Are you ready for an emergency?  I wasn’t until last year my daughter had to do a National Preparedness project for school. She had a whole packet of some really important questions that need to be answered but something we just do not talk about until it is too late.  Smart911 also brought up some questions that I did not think about so this is a really important service and it is FREE.

Let’s discuss 3 things that will help you to get a discussion going with your family so you all will be safer if something should happen.

Create an emergency kit.  Below are recommendation from Ready.gov.

  1. Water – You will need 1 gallon for each person for at least 3 days.  Also don’t forget any pets.
  2. Food – You will need a 3 day supply of nonperishable food.  If putting cans in do not forget the manual can opener.
  3. Radio – Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both.
  4. Flashlight(s) – Don’t forget the extra batteries.
  5. First Aid Kit
  6. Whistle to signal for help
  7. Dust Mask, Plastic Sheeting, and Duct Tape
  8. Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  9. Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  10. Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

You can download a complete list for a recommended emergency kit from FEMA HERE.

Establish a communication plan.

This one is something that people do not realize how important it is until it is needed.

  1. In case of a fire – where will you meet, away from any danger, so everyone knows who is missing.
  2. Contact information if an emergency occurs and you need to contact them wherever they are.
  3. Contact information of someone who everyone can contact, in another town or state, in case of a major disaster.  Everyone needs the phone number and needs to let this person know where they are.
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Signing up for Smart911.

  1. Gives emergency personnel immediate information on age, medical issues, pictures of everyone in the home.
  2. It’s FREE!  No charge for this wonderful useful site!
  3. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!
  4. Only site that I am aware of that does this great service!
  5. It is the Smart thing to do!
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Download the National Safety Month Guide brought to you by Smart911.com.

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Aug 17, 2015

This blog post was originally posted on Reviewz & Newz. You can view the original post here.

I have a child with autism and I have used Smart911.  But, it’s not just for children with autism, it is for all children or adults that may live alone or have a condition that a first responder needs to know about should you have to call 9-1-1.

Register at Smart911.

It is absolutely FREE! Create a safety profile.  Upload a CURRENT picture of your family members.  Since my son is non verbal, I wanted them to know exactly what he looked like in case of an emergency.  Input all of your information, it takes only a few minutes and could very well save your life or that of your child.

School starts soon and I want all of my readers to register at Smart911 and add your child’s photo and all pertinent medical information concerning each member of your family.  If the unthinkable happens and your child is missing, there will be no searching for a recent photo, because it is all stored in Smart911.

Here are some statistics about missing children:

·         The ­first 3 hours are the most critical when trying to locate a missing child.

·         76.2% of abducted children who are killed are dead within 3 hours.

·         It can take more than 2 hours to gather information from a panicked parent.

·         With Smart911, parents can provide a photo and physical description of their child. If their child ever goes missing, 9-1-1 will be able to immediately send their photo to officers responding in the field.

·         Here’s a real 9-1-1 call where Smart911 helped police locate a missing child in Arkansas:

Do your family a favor and SIGN UP NOW at SMART911.  It may very well save a life.

 

 

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Aug 17, 2015

Kelly is a mom and a caretaker of her son Devon who has autism. This blog post was originally posted on her Kelly’s Thoughts on Things blog here.

As you all know I have a son whom is Autistic and being his mom and caretaker, I have so many worries. One, Devon can’t tell anyone if something is wrong with him. Also we always have a fear of him wandering off, believe me we have taken every precaution we can, but it is always on our minds. So what happens in an emergency and how will the 911 be able to know anything about him? Have you heard of Smart911?

With Smart911 I will be able to give them all the information in regards to Devon that they will need to be able to approach him and help him. It works so that when you call in to a participating 911 Dispatch Service from a phone you’ve registered with Smart911, the operator’s screen will fill with a lot more information about yourself, your residence, your vehicles, your medical conditions, other people living with you, and so on – all information that you’ve previously loaded into the Smart911 database.

So before the first responders arrive on the scene, they will know if an individual has to be approached in a certain way or has a medical issue. They will already know that Devon has autism and how they can approach him. Additionally, the Smart911 Safety Profile can include a picture and physical description if the individual has wandered from safety.
Imagine the peace of mind a parent or guardian will have, when they are away from the house and something happens, with Smart911 all the family’s information will already be there for them to have. People with autism are 7 times more likely to encounter first responders. When those encounters occur, Smart911 provides vital information about the 9-1-1 caller before first responders arrive on the scene.

No matter what the medical emergency, a behavioral emergency, or is in another situation, it is vital to communicate that this person has autism and that there are certain things they need to know about the individual, Smart911 can provide the important details needed by 9-1-1 and response teams to assist this person. About 50 percent of children with Autism wander off and I personally know how that is, when my son was younger he got out and we couldn’t find him. It was night-time and we all started searching the streets, well it turned out that he went down the street to the pizza place and the owner called the police and then the police took Devon to the nearest hospital. At that time the owners of the pizza place did not know Devon was our son, we had just moved to the neighborhood. To make a long story short, we found him safe and sound at the hospital. I never want to go through that again!

If the person with autism has wandered, their Safety Profile can provide a current photo, physical description and home address to assist responders in locating them quickly. For me this is a life saving thing and I have already did all the information about my son. Loud noises bother him, and he will be afraid if he doesn’t know you.

Some great information about the Smart911 is if the person is autistic and has specific behavior issues and how they can approach him and handle him. I really like this and urge other mothers who have autism children to do the same. This is good for all people with disabilities so 911 knows what is wrong, and how to handle them, and what they can be allergic to and other things. If the person with autism is sensitive to flashing lights or sirens, or had a safe place in the home they will hide in when they are frightened, responders can be instructed to turn off sirens or lights, and where to look for that person. This is especially helpful in the event of a fire.

Register at Smart911. It is absolutely FREE! Create a Safety Profile. Input all of your information, it takes only a few minutes and could very well save your life or that of your child.

 

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Aug 17, 2015

Carla is a nurse, mom, and blogger. This blog post was originally posted on her Adventures of a Nurse blog here.

I have worked in the health care field for many years now. Getting a full medical history is one of the most important things you can do. It is so important to tell your health care provider your full medical history. Your diagnosis is based on your history & symptoms. It is so important to be completely honest with your doctor this can save your live. Now Smart911 has come aboard getting a medical history from callers.

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A dispatcher with the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office was honored for his outstanding efforts to aid a citizen in need, using Smart911, the County’s latest 9-1-1 service aimed at improving emergency response. Sheriff Joseph A. Gerace presented Michael Katta with the Smart911 SmartSave Award, which recognizes and rewards call takers, dispatchers and emergency responders who are able to effectively use information in a Smart911 Safety Profile to positively affect the outcome of an emergency.

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“It’s not unusual for us to have to begin a call by calming someone down enough so they can tell us where they are and what their emergency is,” stated Dominique, a dispatcher for 18 years.  “The fact that this woman called 9-1-1 from her roommate’s cell phone, and he had provided us with the information we needed ahead of time could very well have saved his life.”

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“The caller wasn’t able to tell me about the man’s medical history, and he was very panicked and unfocused,” stated Naval, a dispatcher of 2.5 years. “His Safety Profile listed Epilepsy in his medical notes and I was able to dispatch EMS response with that information which would help them diagnose and treat him very quickly.”

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I highly recommend Smart911 for anyone with small kids, allergies, diabetes, epilepsy or any medical condition. If the 9-1-1 operator already knows your history seconds could save your life.

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Aug 17, 2015

Tom Shewbridge is a 24 year Career Paramedic and blogger. This blog post was originally posted on his A Medic’s World blog here. 

I was a EMT/Paramedic for 24 years, and one of the things that we always seem to lack was information.  Even when getting a call, we do get as much information as we can from dispatch, but often times, even they don’t get everything they need sometimes to help us prepare for what we are going to.  Smart911 can help bridge that gap.

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Smart911 provides 3 important things:

1. The 9-1-1 service of Smart911 allows you to create a Safety Profile for your household which will proactively provide details on your family and home that 9-1-1 may need in order to send help in the event of an emergency.

2. The emergency management service of Smart911 allows you to answer questions about yourself, your family and your household that will help emergency management officials plan for and respond to disasters by being able to understand the needs of their community.

3. The emergency notification service of Smart911 allows you to opt-in to receive alerts from your community through a variety of communication channels including voice, text or email.

Basically, this allows you to sign up with your information, to help your local 911 service better serve you, whether you are calling from home or your cell phone.  Their service areas are growing daily, and you can find out if your area is covered by Smart911 or how to start requesting that this be included in your area as well.  It’s free to sign up for the service and you can do that by visiting them on their main site here.

There are stories where Smart911 has been beneficial in saving lives, and you can check some of those out here and here.

There is no cost to you, and you might benefit from it like the examples above.  So check them out, and let me know if you have this in your area? or have you signed up with them? ~Tom

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Aug 17, 2015

roseThis article was written by Rose Thibodeaux and adapted from an article on SecurityGem.com exclusively for Smart911.

If you are in an emergency situation and need to call 9-1-1, Smart911 can be a lifesaver…literally. The best situation? You never use the service because you are never in a situation where you must dial 9-1-1. While some circumstances are beyond our control, there are some measures you can take to stay safer and to protect your property. With that in mind, here are 10 tips for improved home security.

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1. Install a Home Security System

90% of convicted burglars surveyed said that they would avoid a home with an alarm system when selecting a target. It’s great if you can invest in a full scale professionally monitored system but if you can’t there are other options. There are several new products that fall into the connected, self-monitored security system category. These new systems include all the pieces of a professionally installed system like window sensors, door sensors, motion sensors, glass break sensors, and security signs but there is no monthly monitoring fee because you monitor the alarm yourself using a smartphone app.

lockyourdoor2. Lock Your Door

30% of home burglaries are “no force” entry. By simply locking your doors and your windows you will automatically make your home a safer place. You should also check all of your doors and windows after workers leave. This includes painters, repair guys, and cleaning crews. Surveyed burglars have admitted that they often enter your home first as an invited guest and leave themselves an easy way to come back later by unlocking strategic windows or doors.

3. Don’t Post a Key Selfie

Companies like keysduplicated.com offer online key duplication technology. Simply, hop on their website, send them a picture of a key, pay a few dollars, and a duplicate copy will be sent your way. Putting pictures of your keys on social media or even loaning them out puts your home’s security at risk. You might be thinking, “who would actually put a picture of their key on Facebook?” You’d be surprised. Pinterest projects? A new home? I’ve seen a fair amount of key pictures on social media lately. Using a keyless lock or even a keypad style lock will help minimize the risk of a lockout by reducing your dependency on a key.

4. Close Your Blinds

Burglars have admitted to taking advantage of a strategic time of night. You know the time. The moment where it’s just starting to get dark outside, your lights are on, and your blinds are still open from the day. In fact, they love it when you do that! It gives them a chance to drive by and scope out your home before they attempt to burglarize you. Don’t give them the opportunity to do research on your house. Shut your blinds, protect your privacy and your home.

garagedooropener5. Garage Door Openers Are Keys Too

Most people leave their garage door openers in the car. It’s efficient but also a potential security hazard if you are one of the many homeowners with a car that stays in your driveway versus in your garage. If you’re a street parker, make sure you take your garage door opener in with you and store it inside your home. A car is much easier to break into than a home and leaving your garage door opener in your car is like leaving a key outside. It’s a security no no.

6. Lock More Than Your Door

Garages are easy targets for burglars as are gates, sheds, and even items left outside like bicycles and lawnmowers. To protect your property you should invest in keeping these items safe by locking them up with a high quality lock set. If you have a fenced in yard you should also consider investing in a gate with a lock and actually using it.

7. Clean Up Your Yard

Don’t give a burglar a place to hide. Clean up overgrown landscaping and keep bushes trim. While you’re at it, keep your walkways picked up as well. This isn’t so much for burglars but for you! You don’t want to create a tripping hazard for you or your guests by cluttering up walkways.

housenumber8. House Numbers Should Be Visible Too

Emergency responders agree that making sure your street address is visible from the street during the day and at night helps them find you faster and the faster they find you, the faster you get help.

9. Make Your Home Look Lived In       

Most burglars are looking for easy targets choosing the path of least resistance. The best way to combat this is by making your home look lived in, all the time. For those that work from home this should be easy but for those that don’t it can be a challenge. You can accomplish this by adding automated lights. If technology isn’t your thing, you can use something fun like a FakeTV that mimics the lighting patterns of a real TV.

smart911_avatar_social-150x15010. Sign up for Smart911

I use Smart911 and I’m a huge advocate. Every 6 months I get a reminder to go in, update photos of my family and any medical history. Passing along this type of data to emergency responders is vital in an emergency situation. If there’s a fire they now know how many people live in your home and how many pets. If there is a medical emergency they now know if you have any drug allergies and they have emergency contact information for your loved ones. If there is an issue with your child, they have a recent picture that they can blast out quickly. The best part? This is a free service. There is really no reason to not take advantage of Smart911 if it is offered to members of your community.

This article was adapted from an article on SecurityGem.com exclusively for Smart911. SecurityGem.com, is an independent site dedicated to providing news and information to keep people safe including reviews of home security and home automation systems. You can read the full article, “100 Ways to Make Your Home Safer,”  here.

 

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Jun 1, 2015