The Autistic Journalist

Using words to explain the mind

Autism returns

with one comment

News about the economy is simmering down for now. After all, only so many jobs can be cut before there’s nothing left to eliminate. My point? That means more room for stories about other things, like autism.

KARE 11 published an Extra a few days ago on the SAFER program. Unlike NASCAR’s version, this doesn’t create a steel and foam wall to absorb impact from autistic kids crashing in the house. However, a common mental symptom of autism is an inability to sense danger. The false sense of invincibility means a lot of children can run off to pursue their interests, unaware of their surroundings, and the SAFER device can help track autistic children in those situations. Children who participate wear a band on their ankle that can’t be removed by the child and emits a pulse using radio frequencies should they get lost, making them easier to find for rescuers.

Sounds exciting? It would be if this was the first story about the SAFER device. WCCO aired a very similar story about this time last year, even using the same format KARE used (introducing the autistic kid, telling about the dangers of them running off, then featuring the device). There’s one difference between the two. The SAFER group featured on KARE, in Carver County, is parent-run. Other counties rely on law enforcement to use the program.

I too lacked an ability to sense danger and even now, I find myself less concerned about my safety than my mother is (parental instinct perhaps). I don’t go blundering my way through trouble spots, but there’s only so much I can do to control my safety before outside factors play a role. I’m cautious, but I know something could happen that I can’t control, so worrying about every little detail would be illogical. I think not having a sense of danger can be liberating once the concept, including how it can be overplayed by outside sources, is understood. But for kids who haven’t picked up on that yet, this should ease the fears of their worrisome parents.


Written by TheSportsBrain

May 22, 2009 at 11:36 am

Posted in autism, safety

One Response

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  1. I encourage you to visit to see how together, we can unstrangle the cure and medical innovation with Sen. Arlen Specter’s help. I hope that we can soon bridge the gap from medical breakthroughs to the bedside of ailing Americans.


    May 22, 2009 at 2:21 pm

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