When you get a chance, please check out the website for the Mason Medlam Foundation. I have been able to get to know his mom on Facebook and she is just precious! Because of her I was inspired to get the Take Me Home program in my own community. This program alerts local law enforcement of the best way to help a nonverbal person should they become missing or be found wandering. Sgt. Lucas called me from our local PD and let Aden be the very first one in the system. I was able to give them multiple people to contact in an emergency, a recent picture of him, his current weight and height, description of physical appearance, and most importantly I was able to give them clues on how best to approach him. I gave them information such as loud noises frighten him so sirens would not be a good option, he's drawn to water, he knows his name but can't speak it, he has a very limited vocabulary both verbal and sign language, heavy blankets might help calm him, he loves rocking and swinging, etc.
Not only is it already up and running, but I got to see first-hand how well it works and how they can perform searches with it when they find someone wandering. The officers patrolling will also have access to it in their vehicles. We were even interviewed for a local station in Little Rock to help get the word out. Check out the article here and the interview videos on are the right. You can see my chunky monkey running around. :) I wasn't even going to do an on-camera interview. I was just going to email them some pictures of Aden. However, my mom literally told me to put on my big girl undies and suck it up. LOL She made a very valid point that she thought it would help get the message out if people could see a real life face to connect with it. Unfortunately, I had to agree and just tried not to throw up on anyone while we were there. :)
If you feel led to bring the Take Me Home program to your community, please do not hesitate to do it! It was a very easy process and you never know whose life it might save. All it takes is your local law enforcement requesting the software and parents/guardians being willing to fill out a simple form and provide a recent picture. And did I mention the program is FREE??
Also, this program is not just for autistic children either. It is available for people diagnosed with any nonverbal condition: Downs Syndrome, Alzheimer's, deaf (not every police officer knows sign language), etc. I am more than willing to help in any way I can - emails, follow-up phone calls, etc. This has become so important to me and I will do whatever possible to help maintain the safety of our children.
A million thanks to Sheila for sharing her story of Mason with us. You have been an amazing and uplifting support system while I was doing this. I feel so blessed to be able to get to know you. :) And to Officer Donohoe for being such a sweet guy and providing the software.